Monday, 7 October 2019

A Prized Wild Mushroom

One day in late November our orchard neighbour was selling Pieds de Moutons at the market. These are an edible fungus known as Hedgehog Mushrooms in English. These were not grown commercially, but harvested wild in conifer forests.

A box of hedgehog mushrooms.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
I had never seen this type of mushroom before, but I recognised it immediately because I've seen pictures in fungi fieldguides. It is one of the few truly unmistakeable edible wild mushrooms, that can be identified simply by looking at the pictures in a fieldguide.

The French name translates literally as 'sheep feet', but I think pieds in this case is being used to mean 'small plant' and the English equivalent is probably something like 'vegetable sheep', and their pale undulating shape reminded someone long ago of wool fleece.

The teeth on the underside.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide. 
Their scientific name is Hydnum repandum. Their most distinctive feature are the pretty pale salmon pink 'teeth' on their underside. Our orchard neighbour told me I must scrape off the 'teeth' and trim the bottoms of the stems before cooking. This was very easily achieved by turning them upsidedown and gently running a small knife over them, after which an orange stain appeared.

There were a few rather aged Girolles (aka Chanterelles) in the box too.
Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.
They released an enormous amount of 'juice' once in the frying pan, and I cooked 500g of mushrooms very hard for 10 minutes to reduce the quantity of liquid to about a tablespoon. We ate them immediately in an omelette and they were pleasantly mushroomy, with good firm flesh.


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This is a refreshed post, originally from December 2009.


chm said...

Here is a possible explanation of the name pied-de-mouton:
Il porte de nombreux noms vernaculaires en référence aux aiguillons portés par son hyménium : « langue-de-chat », « barbe-de-vache », « barbe-de-chèvre », broquichou dans le Béarn, barbissou en Dordogne. Il est appelé Stoppelpilz (littéralement « champignon de chaume ») en francique lorrain et en alsacien.

Susan said...

I'm not sure how this explains the name pied de mouton...?

Ken Broadhurst said...

The pied of a champignon is its stem. I don't think the pied of pied de tomate (a tomato plant or seedling) is the same thing at all. I think the chapeau of this mushroom looked to somebody like a sheep's hoof.

Susan said...

Could be.

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