A wild hunt

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A wild hunt

Mushroom-seekers learn to identify local edibles
Mushroom hunters spread out in a pine-flanked meadow during a mushroom lecture and identification hike led by Chris Ricci from Majesty Mushrooms at Durango Mountain Resort on Saturday morning.
Ricci meets with hikers to sort mushrooms gathered during a guided foray Saturday. The mushroom hunters found a half dozen different local varieties of mushrooms.
All parts of the mushroom must be considered whenidentifying local varieties such as this Hawk’s Wing, which has teeth-like filaments on its underside.
A collection basket includes a large hawk’s wing, a Lactarus delicioso and a coral mushroom in the foreground. All were collected Saturday at DMR in a guided foray led by local mycologist Chris Ricci of Majesty Mushrooms.
A perfect coral mushroom, harvested at its peak, is examined before being added to a mushroom-picker’s basket.
Server Jessie Mackey attended to a large crowd enjoying the 2012 Mushroom Festival Dinner at Purgy’s on Friday evening at Durango Mountain Resort.
A crowd-pleasing appetizer course featured a blackberry-sauced crostini topped with seared Hudson Valley foie gras and shaved Black Truffles, one of a half dozen varieties of wild mushrooms served in the multi-course wine-pairing dinner Friday at DMR.
Guests at Durango Mountain Resort’s third annual mushroom festival dinner were treated to a pre-dinner display of the mushrooms to be served in the multi-course mushroom dinner, including Morels, Lobster mushrooms and Puffballs.
Morel mushrooms are displayed against a selection of Spanish wines from the Torres family winery near Barcelona, Spain.
Pairing mushrooms and wines

Durango Mountain Resort’s third annual Mushroom Festival Dinner, a pairing of Spanish wines with mushrooms, drew a crowd of fewer than 100 fungophiles who were eager to sample the mushroom-based creations of DMR’s chef Charley Curtis.
The chanterelles in the Olathe sweet corn chowder, which was smooth as bisque, barely imparted their gentle apricot fragrance to August’s favorite seasonal soup. The first-course appetizer was paired with a crisply chilled white, Torres Vina Sol, featuring a Parellada grape.
A Hudson Valley foie gras with shaved black truffles from Italy followed. Served on crostini, the generous slice of foie gras, kissed with a tart blackberry puree, was paired with a dry and spicy rosé, which offset the decadently creamy combination.
It’s been said that mushrooms, while fungi, are the “meat” of the vegetable kingdom, earthy and often meaty in texture and heartiness. The selection of mushrooms at Friday’s kick-off to the next morning’s wild mushroom hunt ranged from delicate chanterelles and black truffles paired with whites and rosés to heartier black trumpets and shiitakes in sauces and reductions that called for reds, such as the salmos blend of garnacha tinta, syrah and Cariñena grapes.
Curtis was able to order the wild mushrooms through a purveyor that sources across the map from California to the Midwest to the East Coast and across the Atlantic to Italy and France. Only the black trumpets were dried, but they reconstituted well in the crepe Curtis prepared. Shaved pecorino cheese and a cognac cream sauce finished the rich combination of dairy and mushrooms.
Some mushrooms, such as the lobster mushrooms in the arugula dressed with citrus champagne vinaigrette, mimic the flavor and texture of the seafood for which they are named.
Poached lobster tail medallions offered a light Asian influence because of ginger and tarragon combined with citrus notes in the vinaigrette. Salads boasting complex but balanced delicate flavors benefit by simple, crisp whites, such as the Milmanda chardonnay paired with this salad.
No mushroom dinner would be complete without morels. While the menu promised pan-fried morels with blistered jumbo asparagus, no one complained when the morels were lightly breaded and deep fried in an egg wash and seasoned flour batter. Black Hawaiian sea salt glistened on the appetizer that was finished with a classic hollandaise and served with a fruity, spicy and full-bodied tempranillo wine.
The veal course offered a thinly sliced tournedo-like tenderloin crowned with a polenta disk and sauced in a pinot noir reduction featuring shiitake mushrooms. A classic demi-glace that may have started with shallots, garlic and thyme paired well with the shiitakes and the hearty red Salmos with which it was paired.
Many of the guests at Friday’s dinner reconnected the next day for the hike at 10,200 feet, which yielded additional varieties of wild mushrooms for home cooks seeking to pair Southwest Colorado’s wild mushrooms with appropriate wines.

A wild hunt

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Mushroom hunters spread out in a pine-flanked meadow during a mushroom lecture and identification hike led by Chris Ricci from Majesty Mushrooms at Durango Mountain Resort on Saturday morning.
Purchase
Ricci meets with hikers to sort mushrooms gathered during a guided foray Saturday. The mushroom hunters found a half dozen different local varieties of mushrooms.
Purchase
All parts of the mushroom must be considered whenidentifying local varieties such as this Hawk’s Wing, which has teeth-like filaments on its underside.
Purchase
A collection basket includes a large hawk’s wing, a Lactarus delicioso and a coral mushroom in the foreground. All were collected Saturday at DMR in a guided foray led by local mycologist Chris Ricci of Majesty Mushrooms.
Purchase
A perfect coral mushroom, harvested at its peak, is examined before being added to a mushroom-picker’s basket.
Purchase
Server Jessie Mackey attended to a large crowd enjoying the 2012 Mushroom Festival Dinner at Purgy’s on Friday evening at Durango Mountain Resort.
Purchase
A crowd-pleasing appetizer course featured a blackberry-sauced crostini topped with seared Hudson Valley foie gras and shaved Black Truffles, one of a half dozen varieties of wild mushrooms served in the multi-course wine-pairing dinner Friday at DMR.
Purchase
Guests at Durango Mountain Resort’s third annual mushroom festival dinner were treated to a pre-dinner display of the mushrooms to be served in the multi-course mushroom dinner, including Morels, Lobster mushrooms and Puffballs.
Purchase
Morel mushrooms are displayed against a selection of Spanish wines from the Torres family winery near Barcelona, Spain.
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