Often times wild foraging is more about the hunt than searching out food for survival. Leaves rustling, wind blowing, nettles, burdock...then you stop. Gadzooks, mushrooms! Adreneline pumping you look both ways (don't want anyone to know you've found anything!) and your mind's focus abruptly shifts from woodsy whimsy walk to a heart-thumping hasty harvest. Oh if only you could squeeze just a few more mushrooms into your pack. Soon your perception of how much was harvested is lost. You get tired of harvesting and/or there is no more to be harvested and you pack up your haul and head for home. It isn't until you've unloaded everything and you no longer can see the kitchen table when the "ah ha" moment hits. Whoa boy...what to do with all these shrooms?!
Don't get me wrong this is not a bad thing, but it has quickly taught me the many ways to preserve mushrooms for long term storage. My favorite technique...the dehydrator. Below are a bolete (bottom) and a few morels (top) that have been preserved in this manner. Their aroma stays fresh, they shrink to half their original size and I don't have to worry about them rotting away in the fridge.
So, the other evening when my partner whipped out some truffle salt for his hockey night pizza, it got me thinking...why not put my dried mushrooms in with salt and make a local truffle salt of sorts. I had seen mushrooms salt at Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, etc., but they were strictly porcini. So, out came the morels and my precious bolete and away I microplaned them into some flaked sea salt.
The end result was not truffle salt, but being as I am halfway around the world from Italy, I though it mighty tasty! A savory, chicken-like lightness wafted from the morel salts, while the bolete carried rich notes of chocolate and coffee. Beef chuck roast really got a boost when I seasoned it with a little of the bolete salts while the morel salts complemented the roasted, toasty flavor of some nuts I had just popped out of the oven rather nicely.
Well, there you have it. Next time you run into a bind with having too many wild mushrooms on your hand, dehydrate and experiment with making some locally wildcrafted mushroom salts! Below is the recipe, and as always let me know how it turns out! Note: If you don't have your own dried mushrooms, purchase them from your local co-op and replace the wild crafted with store bought. It's OK!
dried mushrooms of your choosing
Maldon flaked sea salt or your salt of choice (finely ground is best)
Set your salt in a container and grate the dried mushrooms with a microplane into the salt.
Close the container and store for using on all sorts of savory goodies!