Make SF Forage’s Black Trumpet Mushroom Tart
A guided mushroom foraging trip is fun but far from necessary to make these seasonal tarts.
Photo by Ivan Marjanovic/istock
Does any one item have a greater air of mystery in the Bay Area foodie community than wild mushrooms? Come rainy season, they sprout up magically all across Northern California within easy access to even the least adventurous hiker. And while coveted by many, only a bold few actually harvest them due to the fact that a handful — such as the menacingly named Death Cap and Western Destroying Angel — are toxic to the point of deadly.
Iso Rabins is one of those brave few. The co-owner of Uptown Oakland co-working cooking space Forage Kitchen got into mushroom foraging 11 years ago when he first moved to the Bay Area.
“I met some friends of my sister that did it up in the Trinity Valley, and I was just amazed that people actually hung out in the woods for a living.”
Shortly after that formative trip, Rabins founded ForageSF. The “not-only-for-profit” has dabbled in an eclectic range of off-the-grid culinary enterprises, including the wildly successful but ultimately-not-quite-legal Underground Market in San Francisco (a story in itself). But one constant has been offering public food foraging trips and classes highlighted by expert-led fungi forays into the wilds of Marin, Sonoma, Santa Cruz, and the Sierra foothills.
Rabins said one of the things that continues to enchant him about wild mushrooms is their dizzying diversity. “There’s nothing like the range of textures and flavors you find,” which are much wider and more distinct than what you can find at most markets, he said.
Because of that looming threat of poisoning, however, Rabins highly recommends signing up for a class or guided trip rather than foraging on your own. In lieu of harvesting yourself, there are a select few venders, such as Far West Fungi in San Francisco’s Ferry Building, that buy wild mushrooms from trained foragers to sell to the public. If you can’t get your hands on the wild version, you can always substitute whatever is found at your local grocery or farmers market.
Store them in paper bags in the refrigerator to prevent rotting. The cleaning method depends on the mushroom. Some can simply be wiped with a wet cloth or paper towel, while others need to be dunked in water. How you want to prepare them, of course, depends on the type of mushroom and the occasion. But one tried-and-true method that Rabins recommends for beginners is to sauté up a mix of different varieties on their own.
Leek and Lemon Thyme Tarts With Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Recipe from Forage SF. Makes 10 tarts.
¼ pound black trumpets
1 piece bacon
¼ cup shallots
1 tablespoon oregano
2 bulbs garlic, minced
2 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoons parsley
3 lemons for juice
Salt and pepper
½ cup chevre
2-inch tart shells
1 bunch chives
Pre-heat oven to 400, then cut off dirty ends of mushrooms and wash in several changes of water, lifting the mushrooms out of the water to let the grit fall to the bottom.
Dry sauté your mushrooms. Cook them in a pan without any oil on medium heat to get rid of all the moisture. When the water is mostly gone, and before they start to burn, take them off the heat.
Chop and start cooking your bacon (add a bit of extra fat if it needs it) while you slice your shallots and leeks thin and pick your herbs. Cut mushrooms into ½-inch pieces
Now sauté your veggies, mushrooms, and herbs until soft, add wine, lemon, salt and pepper to taste, then remove to mixing bowl
Mix veggies with chevre, taste again for seasoning (this recipe wants a good amount of lemon to counter the heavy bacon and cheese).
Use a tablespoon to fill tart shells on wax paper lined sheet tray, and cook for 15 minutes or until cheese and tarts begin to brown
Take out to cool, chop some chives for garnish, and you’re done.