Jack O’Annualantern

jack2Yep, that’s one that returns each year. Bob O sent me this photo this afternoon wondering if the mushrooms were edible. Now, I want to be very accommodating to Bob O, because he’s the one that found the 11 pound giant puffball in the same city park last year, and I want neither he nor his friends in GI distress.They looked like Jacks, but I drove up to Cedar Hill Park anyway and checked them out. Glad I did because I learned a neat story.

jack1Bob lives in the house he grew up in (parents deceased) right around the corner from the park, and he attended the elementary school that used to stand where the park is now. As he told it, the first grade classes planted an oak tree each year in what became a line of large oaks at maturity. The tree where the Jacks are growing – from the roots – is the last, literally, standing in a long line. Bob planted one of the oaks.

jack3It was obvious to me, from its condition, that this oak is also on it last legs, or roots as it is. Bob O is around my age which is 69. So here we have someone interested in mushrooms who planted the giant oak, a Senior Oak age 60+,  that now produces a beautiful bioluminescent mushroom for its birth giver to enjoy as it fades away.

Go get some and take them home Bob, and enjoy their company in a dark room. Ain’t nature GRAND !!

Salmon with Chanterelles and Red Pepper Puree

Salmon_DishfreezeThis was my Labor Day entrée using a cedar plank on my Big Green Egg !! Accompanied by fresh roasted  bicolor corn, roasted okra and Tunisian fennel salad (with Harissa).


Salmon with Chanterelles and Red Pepper Puree

2 large red bell pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
2   tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced
6    ounces fresh chanterelles, cleaned and sliced
4 salmon filets, 6 oz. each

Place the oil in a sauté´ pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté for 1 minute.  Add the chanterelles, reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, adding a little water if the bottom of the pan is too dry. (Today, I used previously prepared and frozen chanterelles – just like fresh – see above picture on the right)

Place the peppers in a baking dish and put in the oven.  Roast for 10-12 minutes.  The skin will shrivel and begin to blacken in spots.  Let cool in a paper bag.  Remove the skin from the peppers, then slit the peppers open and remove the stem, seeds, and veins.

Place the peppers in a blender and add the lemon juice, sugar, and salt.  Blend to a smooth puree.  Place puree in a small saucepan and warm slightly. Meanwhile, prepare the salmon by either:  grilling 4-minutes on each side;  lightly simmering for 30 minutes; or baking on a lined baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes.  (I basted with an olive oil, lime juice and cilantro mixture) When the salmon is done, place some of the red pepper puree in the middle of each plate.  Cover the puree with some of the mushrooms, place the salmon filets on top, and serve.

Serves 4

The mushrooms on top of the salmon works well also. You can also buy roasted red peppers packed in olive oil at the supermarket. They work well. I particularly like this dish when the Copper River sockeye show up at the fresh fish market in July, which is chanterelle season.

Thanks All

EchoPlateThursday was a great time for everybody that came to Echo Bistro and Wine Bar tin Knoxville to eat wild mushrooms, sample chanterelle vodka, and support the Free Medical Clinic. A share of mushroom sales and some GENEROUS donations raised $413.34 for the clinic. Thanks !!!

From t left to right: morel pate, lobster mushrooms and crab canapé, and angel hair pasta with chanterelles (and a piece of bread :-) at the top