It was the dog days of summer, and I was craving something cold, and not about to turn on the stove. Heat saps my appetite too, so I don't eat too much when it's really hot. In the fridge was a pile of lobster mushrooms. The lobsters are so big and chunky, but what could I make with them cold?
Maybe, I thought, they could be roasted on the grill, diced and mixed with some other ingredients like I do with chilies and green tomatoes for salsa verde, or just plain old salsa. Cold, spicy, bright with fresh lime juice, the thought made my mouth water. Lobster mushroom salsa it would be.
I built a wood fire in the grill (so much for not turning on the stove) and got to work with the biggest mushrooms I had, letting them grill nice and slow over the wood while I sat in the shade and drank beer with the dog.
Afterword I took the mushrooms and used them instead of tomatoes, in what is likely the most expensive salsa I've ever made, considering lobsters will retail anywhere from 10-40$ (wholesale and retail, respectively).
It would've tasted even better allowed to marinate in the fridge for a day, but, a cold beer and the smell of peppers charring over a wood fire could rouse hunger in the dead, so It didn't last long.
Calling the spicy marinated mushrooms salsa might seem like a bit of a stretch, but, purists can go pick rocks. The mushrooms take the place of the tomatoes, so if you wanted, you could also call it a relish, but there's a little tomato in there, as something needs to add the juiciness of a fresh salsa.
The smoky flavors of the wood fire and the cilantro-lime-onion-chili mixture typical of salsas will invoke the need for tortilla chips, and it's great with them. Basically, it's just a fun recipe for lobster mushrooms, that, if you've been in the woods lately, are probably in your fridge right now.
Aside from your basic tortilla chips and beer scenario, the mushroom salsa would also be great made with huitlacoche, but then you would saute the mushrooms instead of grilling them. Other than with tortilla chips, too, this would also be great, warm or cold, as a relish with fresh masa cakes, on top of quesadillas, or in freshly warmed tortillas with your favorite taco meat.
Grilled Mushroom Salsa
- 1 Grill
- 1 Medium mixing bowl
- 16 oz fresh wild mushrooms preferably large, firm mushrooms like lobsters.
- 1 small red onion finely diced (add this to taste)
- ½ teaspoon garlic I like to grate this on a microplane but you could finely mince it
- Juice of 1 fresh lime or more to taste
- 1 small jalapeno
- 1 ear of sweet corn optional
- 1 handful chopped fresh cilantro to taste
- 1 small tomato blanched, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- Kosher salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 poblano pepper another chili you can roast, or a small red bell peppe
- Preheat a grill using wood. Toss the lobster mushrooms with the oil. Put the mushrooms on the grill along with the jalapeno, poblano, onion, and corn, and cook each of them until charred and cooked through.
- It's especially important that the mushrooms be cooked through, so if they are getting nice and browned and you're worried about them getting too dark, move them to the outer edges of the grill to avoid scorching them, they shouldn't be blackened, just charred here and there. The vegetables on the other hand should have a nice amount of char on them, since it adds a nice flavor.
- Remove the vegetables and mushrooms and cool until you can handle them. If you are at all unsure about the done-ness of your lobster mushrooms, or your lobster mushrooms are very large, put them in the oven at 250 for an additional 20 minutes to completely heat them through.
- Cut the lobster mushrooms into ½ inch pieces, about the size you would cut tomatoes for fresh salsa. Using gloves or being careful, peel the jalapeno, poblano or other chili if using, then cut into small dice.
- Cut kernels from the corn, then add all the ingredients to the lobster mushrooms and mix in a bowl, adding the roasted peppers to taste, as they will be spicy! Double check the seasoning, adjust for salt, lime, and cilantro until it tastes good to you, then refrigerate. The salsa should be eaten within 3 days.
I went a long way to fish Saturday (Walker MN), but was nearly skunked. Then I found some honey fungus, and some slippery Jack's, so picked a shopping bag of those and felt a lot better. Today (Sunday 15th) I stayed nearer "home" @ the Brooklyn center, and went to Sunshine river north pool and found my first elm oysters. One tree, 6lb upto a foot across. Also found a small bunch of Flammulina Velutipes, but no fish again. I have to find a spot to fish from the bank other than Coon Rapids!
William Hunter Duncan
Fascinating! I never would have thought....
I was in the Boundary Waters camping the end of August. We stayed on a three acre Island six portages in. It had rained the previous several days, and there were more Lobster mushrooms on this island than I have ever seen anywhere, and some of the finest specimens I have ever seen. If that is the going rate for lobsters I should have dreid them. Oh well...
Yeah commercially they command a decent price. Dime a dozen when you find a good patch though.