San Juan Island Chef is Wild About Mushrooms
Coho Restaurant’s Executive Chef, Bill Messick is wild about mushrooms.
He works with a group of foragers who gathers these mycological wonders from British Columbia south to Oregon.
Sometimes we are lucky enough to be the recipient of mushrooms from a local forager when the conditions and timing are just right. They keep Coho’s kitchen well stocked with these delectable edible fungi that Chef tucks in many of his menu offerings. It is not unusual on any one day to find porcini, morels, chanterelles, oysters, trumpet, or blue foot lobsters in his reach in cooler.
A few weeks back a new wild mushroom appeared on Coho’s menu – mousseron mushrooms. We had to do a bit of research about them. They are sometimes called ‘fairy circle’ as legend has it as they grow in circles on the forest floor.
Fairy Ring Mushrooms in Friday Harbor
These mushrooms are foraged for a short time in Europe in spring and fall and in the United States, they are found in the spring. When we tasted them, we realized their size could prove deceiving. These little mousseron mushrooms are small but full bodied and packed with flavor. Chef Bill featured them in an intensely flavored wild rice risotto which became the bed for a perfectly pan seared halibut filet.
So if you are in Friday Harbor, stop in for dinner at Coho Restaurant and try some Day Boat Scallops with a side of snap peas and porcini mushrooms or a grass fed beef tenderloin from Painted Hills, Oregon with a wild mushrooms sautée with the haricots verts.
This piece was written and given to us my Anna Maria De Freitas of Coho Restaurant and Tucker Houses Inn