The Illinois Mycological Association kicks off its 2014 foraging season on March 2, and the forays will continue until early November.
But if traipsing around forests for ingredients is not your thing—and because it’s a bit early for local selections at grocery stores—take advantage of the Midwest bounty at year-round farmers’ markets such as Green City and Logan Square.
That’s what Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco) does. And here's how he preps the mushrooms in the kitchen:
Rick Bayless’s Mushroom Seviche
Yield: 6 to 8 tacos or tostadas
Prep time: 1 hour
|8 oz. (about 8 cups)||Fresh mushrooms (a mixture of any three: cremini, shiitake, oyster, chanterelle, or morel)|
|6 Tbsp.||Fresh lime juice|
|1||Medium red ripe tomato, cut into ¼-inch pieces|
|1||Small white onion, cut into ¼-inch pieces|
|¼||Medium bunch cilantro, chopped|
|1||Fresh serrano chili, stemmed and chopped|
|1 Tbsp.||Olive oil|
|6 to 8||Tortillas, soft or crisp|
1. In a colander, rinse the mushrooms under cold water. Trim off the stems and discard. Cut the caps into ¼-inch pieces.
2. In a large nonaluminum bowl, combine the mushrooms with the lime juice and marinate, stirring frequently. After an hour, drain off any excess juice and reserve. (You may do this several hours ahead.)
3. Add the tomato, onion, cilantro, chili, and olive oil to the mushrooms. Mix well and season with salt. Drizzle the reserved lime juice to add tanginess. If not serving right away, cover and refrigerate (preferably not more than an hour).
4. Serve on tortillas as tacos or tostadas.
TIP: When tomatoes are not in season, substitute ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes cut into ¼-inch pieces.