It was a beautiful thing.
I was riding with Les in his Barnstable Seafarms van, en route to the Mid-Cape Farmer’s Market to sell oysters, and he pointed to the side of the road just where we turned onto Route 6A. Right in the middle of the grass was a giant, bright orange mushroom.
On our way home, Les pulled over and I hopped out and got it. It was the size of a wok, and at exactly the right stage to be picked.
I had never seen a chicken mushroom growing straight out of the ground — they’re usually on tree trunks — but it’s so easily identifiable that I wasn’t concerned. Even so, I fried up a bunch and ate it myself before I gave it to anyone else — my standard procedure with wild mushrooms about which I have any doubt at all.
It wasn’t exactly delicious. Chicken mushrooms don’t have much flavor, and they get their name from their meaty texture. It was mild and tender and took on the flavor of the butter I cooked it in.
For dinner, I fried it up with lamb, onions, tomatoes, and mint.