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Pig's Ears (Violet Chanterelle) Mushroom
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The Pig’s Ear mushroom is so-called for its pale pink to violet color and the shape of its wrinkle-edged cap. The mushroom grows erect most often with two or more fluted caps fused to a stem. The lobed cap is a yellowish-brown that fades to tan with age. The distinct violet purple underside is ridged with false gills that run from the stem to the edge of each cap. Pig's Ear mushrooms have a meaty white or pale pink flesh and offer an earthy aroma and flavor. Some people are said to have a mild gastro-intestinal reaction to the mushroom.
The Pig Ear mushroom is found growing during the fall and winter months.
Pig’s Ear mushroom, scientifically known as Gomphus clavatus, was thought to be related to the Chanterelle until recently. Typically it is found growing in the same place and at the same time as Chanterelle mushrooms. The assumed relation coupled with the violet underside of the Gomphus clavatus earned it another nickname: the Violet Chanterelle.
Pig's Ear mushrooms contain fatty acids that have antifungal properties. They also contain several essential enzymes such as protease, amylase, and lipase, which aid in the digestion of proteins, starches and fats.
Pig’s Ears mushrooms are best served cooked. In the wild, they are favored by flies that sometimes lay eggs in more mature mushrooms, so young mushrooms are ideal. Clean the mushrooms well to remove any larva. The firm and meaty texture of the Pig’s Ear mushroom holds up well in soups or sauces. Sautee and serve in a reduction sauce alongside beef or lamb. The mushroom pairs well with garlic, butter and thyme. Parboiled Pig’s Ear mushrooms can be flash frozen and stored in the freezer for months while still retaining their firm texture.
A study done in 2007, looked at the cultural significance of certain varieties of mushroom on the Zapotecs from Oaxaca, Mexico. In the study, Pig's Ear mushroom was ranked the most palatable and the most multifunctional; they were one of the few varieties eaten on their own and not added to soups or meats.
For a long time, Pig’s Ear mushrooms were classified as Cantharellus clavatus, a member of the Chanterelle family. Recent study and DNA testing have put the distinctive looking mushrooms in their own genus. Gomphus clavatus is one of three Gomphus species and the only one native to North America. Commonly found growing amid the conifers in the Northwestern US Pig’s Ear mushrooms can also be found in northern California and in parts of northern North America. They are most often found growing at the base of Douglas fir trees alone or in small clusters.
Recipes that include Pig's Ears (Violet Chanterelle) Mushroom. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Mad About Mushrooms||Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Pig's Ears|