Horn of Plenty Mushroom
Horn of plenty, also known as trompette de la mort or black trumpet, is a type of wild edible mushroom. It is also known as black chanterelle, trumpet of the dead, or by its scientific name of Craterellus cornucopioides. Horn of plenty can be found growing in the wild across North, Central, and South America, as well as Europe and Asia.
The edible fungus is recognised by its deep, hollow funnel-shaped cap that resembles a big, black trumpet. Its sombre appearance has led it the name of trumpet of death, however horn of plenty is safe to eat. Horn of plenty is a highly sought after mushroom that is recognised for its strong, delicious flavour. They are widely regarded as being one of the best gourmet mushrooms, often used in small quantities as they can be hard to come by.
How to recognise horn of plenty in the wild
Horn of plenty mushrooms cannot be cultivated and must be foraged in the wild. They can be hard to spot amongst the leaf litter, but they are usually found in large groups. So when you find one, you will be lucky enough to stumble upon many more. They typically grow amongst leaf litter in deciduous woodland. The average height of horn of plenty is about 7 centimetres, with a cap width of 5 centimetres.
The easiest way to recognise horn of plenty is by looking out for its trumpet-shaped cap which is usually black but can also be grey, silver, or brown in colour. The horn of plenty’s gills are greyish brown or black. They are not obvious, but you will be able to feel slight ridges running up from the stem to the edge of the cap. The outer skin is tough, meaning the mushroom is rarely infested with maggots and can be found in the middle of winter.
What does horn of plenty taste like?
Horn of plenty is a delicious, strongly flavoured mushroom that is prized in cooking. They have a rich, nutty, almost smoky flavour and are sometimes likened to a black truffle in flavour notes. The texture is quite meaty and a little stringy. Because the flavour is so strong, they don’t need much to make a dish outstanding.
How to use horn of plenty in cooking
Horn of plenty can be used both fresh or dried, though the flavour is stronger and better when dried. The fungus can be dried in a warm oven or over a radiator, then stored in jars for future use. If you are using dried horn of plenty mushrooms, you can crumble them on top of your dishes. Horn of plenty can be eaten raw in small quantities when used as a garnish.
You can use horn of plenty as you would any other mushrooms. Use them to make pasta sauce, marinades, in stews, soups, and noodle dishes. You can use horn of plenty mushrooms to make more complex dishes like terrine, soufflé, or fricassée, or mix them into your omelettes. Sauté them and serve them on their own as a mushroom dish, or mix them into your stir fries or poultry dishes.
Chef Kerry Heffernan at Eleven Madison Park in New York serves horn of plenty mushrooms with a Hubbard squash flan with caramelised brussell sprouts and uses them as a topping for pizzettes. Rick Moonen at Oceana uses black trumpets in his signature dish of striped bass on foraged wild mushrooms with chive potatoes and a truffle vinaigrette. Restaurant Fred’s at Barney’s grills horn of plenty mushrooms and serves them alongside balsamic vinegar, rocket, and Italian sausage. The Four Seasons in New York turns them into a puree for a sauce to serve alongside roasted striped bass.
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