Friday, July 6, 2012

The Mousseron - The St. George's Mushroom. The St. George's Mushroom on French Menus. The Mushrooms of France II.

Behind the French Menu.
Bryan G. Newman
Updated July 2017
The St George's Mushroom.
Photograph courtesy of Andrew
Mousseron, Mousseron de la St Georges, Mousseron de Provence or Tricholome de la St-Georges – The St George's Mushroom. These mushrooms can grow quite large but those I have seen in the markets are rarely over 6 or 7 cm across; nevertheless, they decorate and flavor with equal success.
France has many wild mushrooms and the Mousseron, the St George's mushroom, is a particularly tasty example; when it is on the menu do not pass on it.  Many restaurants have long-term agreements with professional ramasseurs, foragers, and gatherers, who know the different seasons when the various wild mushrooms, herbs, fruits, and vegetables become available.   These professionals bring restaurants wild garlic, wild onions, wild asparagus, and wild fruits along with the season’s wild mushrooms.

St George’s mushroom may be found all over Europe and France, in most parts, from late March through June.  According to those who know, they say they can find them earlier in the South of France and then sometimes they can be found again in the autumn. If you want to try them at home and cannot find them fresh then try the dried version which when re-hydrated is not too bad.  The fresh mushrooms are only found in the wild; however, attempts to cultivate them continue.
St George’s mushrooms on French Menus:
Crème de Mousseron – A cream of St George's mushroom soup.
Filet de Canette Rôti à la Réglisse, Poêlée de Mousseron -  Breast of duckling roasted with licorice, and served with lightly fried St. George’s Mushrooms.
Foie Gras de Canard Mi-Cuit, Panais et Pickles de Mousseron – Very lightly fried fattened duck liver served with parsnips and pickled St George’s mushrooms
St Georges' mushrooms in the market.
                                         Photograph courtesy of  Le Coeur au Ventre
Fricassée d'Asperges Vertes et de Mousserons de la Saint-Georges. – Stewed green asparagus prepared together with St Georges’ mushrooms.
Risotto de Petit Épeautre aux Mousserons- A risotto made with Small Spelt and St Georges mushrooms  From the use of Small Spelt, also called Einkorn, this is, of course, a dish that only could have originated in Provence. Only a few places, outside Provence, grow Spelt and or Small Spelt commercially. Those that do include Germany, who make a beer with Spelt.  Spelt, is the ancestor of modern wheat, and the Small Spelt used in this dish is another ancestor, but this ancestor never went on to become a smooth grain that would become a staple.
Small Spelt has a slight course texture, but it is tasty.  In Provence, Spelt and Small Spelt were traditionally, and sometimes still are, used instead of rice; certainly seeing Small Spelt on a menu offers a change from regular risotto rice. This is a chance to enjoy a different taste that you will be unlikely to find at home.
Sole de Ligne, en Tronçon Épais, Girolles et Mousserons au suc de vin jaune – A wide cut from sole, the fish, prepared with Girolle/Chanterelle and St Georges’ mushrooms and a sauce made with the natural cooking juice and the yellow wine from the Jura.

The results of one morning's mushroom collecting.
The best Steak à la Bordelaise that I ever had in France, and I have had a few! Came with fresh mousseron mushrooms; the mousseron mushrooms were the only garnish and the only decoration, apart from some excellent French fries.  The mushrooms, the steak à la Bordelaise and the restaurant’s local Bordeaux house wine were a very successful combination.
A fairy ring of St George’s mushrooms.
A word of warning
 A word of warning. Do not cook or eat any mushrooms that have not been checked by an expert.  Many mushrooms look alike and some are poisonous. Every French town and villages have mushrooms experts and any local pharmacy will be able to give you directions.  The volunteer experts will check your mushrooms without charge.
(Catalan - moixeró o bolet de Sant Jordi), (Dutch - voorjaarspronkridder ), (German – maipilz) (Italian - funghi di san giorgio). (Spanish - seta de San Jorge), (Latin - calocybe gambosaor tricholoma georgi).
Other Mushroom Posts:
Connected Posts:
Bryan G. Newman
Behind the French Menu
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