This is a lobster mushroom.
Wanted to show this creature to you from every angle. I bought this sweet sweet forest baby at last week’s Trinity Bellwoods Market. It smells like a mix of fish and the powers of the universe. I am totally serious on that one and if you don’t know what I mean, you are going to have to find out for yourself.
When I asked the seller about where it came from, all he could tells me was “Near North Bay, mushroom foragers are very private about that sort of information”. If you read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivores Dilemma, you might be somewhat versed in the secrets of the mushroom hunters.
According to Wikipedia
Lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum) is not a mushroom, but rather a parasitic ascomycete that grows on mushrooms, turning them a reddish orange color that resembles the outer shell of a cooked lobster. It colonizes members of the genera Lactarius (Milk-caps) and Russula, such as Russula brevipes and Lactarius piperatus in North America. At maturity, Lobster Mushrooms thoroughly covers its host, rendering it unidentifiable. Lobster mushrooms are widely eaten and enjoyed. They have a seafood-like flavor and a firm, dense texture. According to some, they may taste somewhat spicy if the host mushroom is an acrid Lactarius.
Now, had I read the wiki explanation before, would I have eaten it? Nope. Probably not. But I did and I felt great and am still alive to tell you about it.
The advice of the seller was to thin the mushroom thinly and sautee with shallots and olive oil. I took it a step further and added a few other goodies to round this out as a complete meal.
I first chopped up my lobster mushroom and was amazed at how much it actually looked like lobster- I then sauteed it with the other ingredients I had on hand and it really was delicious.
Lobster Mushroom Optional Lobster Mushroom Treat
(Makes 1 large or two small servings)
1 Lobster Mushroom, sliced thin (optional! could also use other mushroom types, chicken, fish, extra tofu or tempeh if you like)
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 of a block organic tofu (or tempeh)
3 cups kale
toasted sesame seeds and sea salt as garnish
- Heat olive oil in pan and add garlic and onion
- Suatee until aromatic and then add mushroom and tofu
- Cook for about 8 minutes to make sure mushroom is cooked through- should be soft
- Add Kale, sesame oil and sea salt and toss just until kale gets bright green and slightly limp
- Pile on plate and add sesame seed garnish