Friday, April 29, 2016

Black Trumpet Recipe - Black Trumpet Pasta

For me, the most fragrant and distinct tasting wild mushroom is the black trumpet, with its earthy, iron-y, and rich flavors. Based on newest DNA studies, it appears the black trumpets of eastern North America are a separate genus from those in Europe and the West Coast, ours being Craterellus fallax, displaying a peachy-salmon spore print. Classify it any way you like, but let me eat my black trumpets!

We hunt black trumpets in the hot summer months, after the rains have made the forests damp and humid, and the mosquitoes swarm your ears with their whine. In this area of New England, we find black trumpets in mixed forests, associated with smooth-barked beech trees. The trumpets are almost impossible to detect among the leaf litter on the forest floor, appearing more as an absence of color when you look into their black funnel. Finding them along gentle slopes, nestled in soft, green club moss is easier on the eyes, if harder on the knees to pick while standing at an angle. Black trumpets grow in groups, sometimes great, expansive groups; you can fill several paper sacks within a half hour before making a trip back to the car for more paper sacks. 

Black trumpets are vase-shaped, or like the throat and bell of a trumpet. The stem is hollow, tapering down to the base, and can catch debris, sometimes bugs, and even small frogs. We pinch off the trumpets at the lowest point of the base and give them a quick inspection and shake to dislodge anything "extra". The top edge is often curled outward, and the inside is dark grey or brownish-black, sometimes minutely scaly. The outside has neither gills nor pores, but can have some ridges or be completely smooth, and is often a lighter grey.

Black trumpets dehydrate incredibly well; our many, full gallon jars on the shelves testify to that fact. They reconstitute easily with boiling water or heavy cream since they are so thin. We also sautĂ© them lightly to reduce their volume before vacuum packing them for the freezer. Once dried, they can be made into an intense flavoring powder, which can be added to dough, sauces, or any other recipe that would benefit from the flavor of black trumpets. 

For this pasta, use the dried, powdered black trumpets. The color of the pasta will lighten considerably when dried, but will regain the darkness once cooked. It pairs nicely with a creamy sauce, we eat it with a stinging nettle béchamel.

Black Trumpet Pasta                makes about 4 servings, one pound

US measurements:
10.6 oz semolina flour
1.2 oz dried, finely ground black trumpets 
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c. water
2 Tbsp oil

International measurements:
300 g semolina flour
30 g dried, finely ground black trumpets
3 g salt
150 g water
20 g oil

1. In a bowl, combine the semolina flour with the salt.
2. Combine the dried, powdered black trumpets, oil, and water in a high speed blender, blend 1 minute. Pour into the semolina flour, and mix until a dough forms.
3. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, allow it to rest for 5 minutes, then knead it further for 5 minutes.
4. Wrap the dough in plastic or cover with a damp towel, and allow it to rest at least 30 minutes. It can be refrigerated for a day or so if tightly wrapped.
5. Cut the dough ball into quarters, and use a pasta roller to roll it out into flat sheets, starting at level 1 and rolling it down to level 5 thickness, re-folding and rolling it again if it is falling apart. The more you work it, the smoother it becomes. We like the fettuccine size cut for this firm dough.
6. Dry the pasta and store, or cook fresh in plenty of salted, boiling water, about 2-3 minutes, until al dente. Toss with butter or a sauce, and serve.

1 comment:

HenoftheWood said...

Oh my goodness. You have me drooling. I bet this is amazing!