I couldn't believe my eyes yesterday as Poppy and I walked through the woods just down from our house in East Grinstead. There, on a muddy little stream bank, lay a log teaming with fresh, juicy Chicken of the Woods (laetiporus sulphureous)! Translated, this means MUSHROOMS! On May 6th? Who knew?
The earliest I've found them in Oregon was late late summer. But mostly I've found them in the autumn while picking Chanterelles (cantharellus cibarius). I guess like most similarities between the US and UK, you just have to tweak a little here and twist a little there to fit one into the other. (Well, kinda sorta.) At least we share many of the same edible species.
Is it not just the sexiest mushroom knife ever? And the only thing more exciting than finding Chicken of the Woods at the beginning of May was using it for the first time! Was it actually Antonio Carluccio who designed this masterpiece? I don't know, but it's brilliant! Brush, blade and little tweezers -- all in one perfectly balanced, wood-handled tool . . . and that rhymes with COOL.
And now back to the laetiporus sulphureous . . . . When discovering these mushrooms in the past, I'd have to trim only the outer edges, leaving the tough and chewy majority on the stump. Not these babies. They were moist and springy and, well, perfect really!
Now all I have to do is decide how to cook them.