As promised, here’s my play-by-play of how to prep Pheasantback mushrooms. But first, a few specific stats about them:
- It’s hard to mistake another mushroom for a Pheasantback, no other mushrooms really look like them, so you’re pretty safe. If you’ve never foraged for or eaten a pheasantback mushroom, then you should double check with a knowledgeable mushroom person or field guide to mushrooms to make sure you’ve got what you think you’ve got.
- They are also called Dryad’s Saddle.
- They grow from May to November, but their main season in May.
- They are found mostly on dead deciduous wood – particularly poplar, maple, willow or birch.
- Some folks think they smell like watermelon rind.
This is the side view – they attach to the side of a tree trunk, and grow outwards from it like this.
You very often discard around half of the mushroom – the tenderest parts are the outside edges. Once I had prepped the mushrooms, I had about 2# left to work with.
And so, after patience, I have nicely browned mushroom bits! I drain on paper towels and then add to stir fries, pizza, or anything that wouild complement the flavor of pheasantbacks. After cooking it like this, and letting it drain, they’re a little crispy and I think they taste like crispy fried chicken skin!
Some things to think about:
- Make sure you’ve squeezed the fresh pieces out really good – the less water the better!
- Resist the temptation to turn the heat up too high – a slow fry is what’s called for here – you don’t want to burn the garlic!
- You could add a splash of wine at any time in this process. Wine, garlic & mushrooms is a classic combo for a reason – it’s delicious!