In July, I will be heading back to the States to spend a couple of precious weeks with my family in Northern Michigan – a trip conveniently planned over the coldest month in Melbourne and the most beautiful time of year in The Mitten.
I can hardly contain my excitement, thinking about the smell of warm pines that will fill the air as I make my way five hours northwest of the Detroit airport.
One of the quaint little towns that you pass through on the drive up interstate 115 is Mesick – the Mushroom Capital of the U.S. Not surprisingly, this isn’t widely known, as Mesick itself is not much larger than 1 square mile with a population of less than 400 people. Yet, it has been dubbed the Mushroom Capital for a reason.
In late April and early May, when beautiful black and yellow morel mushrooms pop up across this northern region of Michigan, Mesick hosts an annual mushroom festival to pick and celebrate this local, seasonal delicacy.
I’m bummed to have missed this year’s harvest, as these morels are true gems, but I’ve found my own way to celebrate in anticipation of my trip. Right now, there are a number of wild mushrooms in season here in Victoria, with pine and enoki in abundance. I picked some up from the market recently and prepared them simply with a bit of rich crème fraîche and fragrant thyme, and piled them on crunchy toast. Not exactly the same as my annual Michigan morels, but a pretty wonderful way to enjoy the woody, earthy fungi that Victoria has to offer.
This recipe will work with any mushrooms, so stock up on whatever is in season and looks good near you.
Mushrooms on Toast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound mixed wild mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 slices bread, toasted
Freshly chopped parsley, to garnish
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add mushrooms in an even layer. Cook on one side until mushrooms begin to smoke, 2-3 minutes; turn and cook mushrooms on other side another 2-3 minutes. Deglaze pan with white wine, stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add garlic, thyme leaves, crème fraîche, salt, and pepper; cook until mushrooms are soft and evenly coated in sauce, 2-3 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in parsley. Pile mushrooms evenly over toast and serve immediately.