For me, the beginning of summer is marked by the emergence of Agaricus augustus, the Prince mushroom, which I generally start finding at the end of June. The Prince’s domain extends over cities, suburbs, and rural roadsides. It’s fond of parks and gardens. I found this specimen beside an old logging track, where it was growing alone. Sometimes they fruit in clumps, and they can be quite large, with caps the size of dinner plates, which means a single Prince can make a meal.
A distinguishing feature of the Prince is its unusually strong scent: the almondy smell of anise. Personally, I find this aroma to be overpowering at times, so I make sure not to cook the Prince in a savory recipe that will clash with the sweet, anise-like flavor. I found this out the hard way, once stuffing ginormous Prince caps with Italian sausage, breadcrumbs, sage, parsley, and egg; what should have been a stellar meal was compromised by the too-sweet flavor of the mushrooms. A red sauce over pasta is a better use of the Prince, with the chopped mushrooms obviating any need for a pinch of sugar.