- Wild Game
I had Chef April Bloomfield’s ricotta gnudi in New York at the James Beard Awards, and I had to recreate them, only with my own twist: A sauce of ramps and fresh porcini I found in the High Sierra.
This might be the prettiest – and best-tasting – dish I’ve made this spring. You can really taste the ramps in the pasta, and the morels, cooked simply with ramps, butter and a little stock, compliment the pasta like sunshine on a pretty girl’s eyes.
Trout with morels, ramps and fiddleheads is a classic combination – all are in season at the same time, and in the same place. Even in the High Sierra, we have our own rendition, with bracken fiddleheads and Sierra wild onions. I call this dish Sierra Spring.
I’d always been leery of the Slavic style of salt-pickled mushrooms. But I finally took the plunge and fermented my mushrooms Polish style, and damn but they’re good — especially with some rye bread and lots of vodka…
No mushroom forms more of a backbone to my cooking than does the humble yellowfoot chanterelle. I will drive great distances in search of it, just so I have enough to get me through the dry months.
Matsutake mushrooms are popping all over California’s North Coast now. If you’ve never heard of them, matsutakes are one of the most prized mushrooms in Asia. Firm and clean-tasting, they have a beguiling aroma – like earthy cinnamon.
The common meadow mushroom has not been so common for me; I’d searched in vain for years to find them. Until last week, when Holly came home with a bushel of the mushrooms we call “pinks.” I cooked them up using a classic Escoffier recipe, and lemme tell ya: It was worth the wait.
It is chanterelle season in much of America right now, and I am even hearing a few isolated reports of chanties here in California. What to do when you want to extend your season? Pickle your chanterelles. They’re awesome preserved this way.
I make a lot of risotto, but I love mushroom risotto most of all. This is what I do when life gives me a basket of pretty fresh morels, and life’s been good to me this season.
I’ve been spending long days by myself, combing the piney woods of the High Sierra, looking for Mr. Brown, the spring porcini mushroom. I am happy to say I’ve found him.