Ha! Just when you thought it was safe to visit FOTL again, what with change everywhere apparent and all, we’re still stuck on this blasted mushroom trail.
Well, there are worse places to be.
Anyway, the time is now to go hog wild. Wild for hedghogs, that is, Hydnum rapandum, the hedgehog mushroom, named for the bristly teeth under the cap. Hedgehogs are hearty fellers, which is why we’re still on a mycological roll. While most of the good fungal edibles succumb to the first hard frost, the hogs are just getting started.
One of my favorite recipes for hogs I snagged out of David Arora’s All That the Rain Promises: Dice up some pancetta (or reg’lar ol’ bacon) and saute in a pan. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon when it’s almost crispy and add chopped hedgehogs. Cook a couple minutes in the bacon fat and add pine nuts. Be careful not to burn the nuts. Season with salt and pepper and a generous pinch or two of chopped fresh rosemary. Add the bacon back in at the end, stir, and serve atop toast points or thinly sliced baguette.
Most of the serious hedgehog hunting in these parts takes place at the coast, but the mountains produce some hogs as well, and I’m lucky enough to have a Cascade honey hole that puts out more than a few. If you look carefully you’ll notice in the video below a dusting of snow on a few of these hedgehogs that I found at the 4,500-foot level in a mature hemlock forest. (You’ll also hear gunshots and the croaking of a raven.)