You never know what you’ll come upon while on a mushroom hunt. This past weekend my daughter discovered an owl sitting in the middle of a field. It didn’t move. As she drew closer, she noticed one wing looked a little droopy. If the bird was injured, it was potential prey for coyotes and bobcats.
Thinking she might have to do an owl rescue, she came back to the house for a blanket and box. Unfortunately, our friend Lucy (who does dog rescues and more recently a piglet rescue) was not around to assist. So Robin sent a photo of the grounded bird to the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, near St. Louis.
A Return to the Scene
When Robin returned to the field, the owl was nowhere to be found. Even so, from the emailed photo, the sanctuary experts determined it was a Great Horned Owl (or hoot owl) and a juvenile, since no horns were yet obvious. It was probably just learning to fly, they said.
What a relief! I was not looking forward to holding a boxed owl in my lap all the way back to St. Louis.
Having dodged an owl rescue, Robin resumed the intended mushroom hunt. There weren’t a lot to be found, but enough for a nice side dish of black trumpets and chanterelles. When in the woods, you never know what surprises of nature you’ll stumble upon.
Mushrooms: The Gifts of Spring
This yum-doddle recipe is what mushrooming is all about! Serve the fungi on toasted Italian bread, or preferably white sourdough. Make sure the skillet is hot, hot when browning the mushrooms. You want those puppies to brown and not just sizzle in their own juices. Don’t lower the heat until you add the garlic and thyme.
Mushrooms on Toast Points
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, more as needed
- 1 lb. thinly sliced portobello, cremini or wild mushrooms
- 1 tsp. chopped thyme
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper
- Splash of sherry or Marsala
- ¼ cup crème fraîche
- 2 thick slices country bread, for toasting
- 2 Tbs. chopped parsley
- Heat a wide skillet over high heat and add butter, swirling pan. When butter begins to sizzle, add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add thyme and garlic, and stir to coat. Season well with salt and pepper and continue to sauté for a minute more, then add sherry, if using. Add crème fraîche and let mixture simmer 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast bread slices until golden. Lightly butter them and place on individual warm plates.
- Spoon mushrooms and juices over toasted bread. Top with chopped parsley.