Mushroom roulette anyone?

You may be thinking, ‘How is he living dangerously in West Cork?’ Well, I am about to show you that there is an element of risk (nay, a possible death-inducing scenario) involved with living the dream on the ‘Sheep’s Head’.

While enjoying my daily ‘airing out’, and having read a wonderful piece by the high queen of good things to eat, Darina Allen, about collecting all the food you could possibly need from the hedgerows and forests, I spotted a group of mushrooms under some trees in a field.

Wild mushrooms, tasty or deadly?

I collected the ‘shrooms’ and while they have a strange (some might say radioactive) colour, they look like large open-capped mushrooms that would be perfect for grilling (broiling). The slightly pinkish colour did put me off for a moment but I thought I’d bring them home and do what every modern man does when faced with a possible ‘should I eat it’ dilemma, that is, look it up on the interweb.

All I found were stories of people dying horribly from eating poisonous mushrooms and a very unhelpful piece about not picking mushrooms if you can’t identify them. Too late now. While all this research was going on, I developed a serious craving for mushrooms with garlic butter on toast. Would I, or wouldn’t I? With the possibility of death (or a super, super high) on the cards, is a wild mushroom omelette out of the question?

Edible or not?

Well, let’s say that I eat the mushrooms; while I am sure that I could make a really good meal with them, is it worth the risk? There is a possibility I won’t die and free food is, well, free food. With that in mind, this is what I am proposing to do with the ‘mushys’.

Handful of wild (but deadly?) mushrooms

1 clove of garlic

1 spring onion

Olive oil


Salt and pepper

Handful of fresh parsley and thyme

Handful of breadcrumbs

I have a few smaller mushrooms as well as the bigger opened-capped ones so first thing is to lightly fry the garlic, spring onion and smaller chopped mushrooms in a pan with the olive oil and a little butter.

With the four bigger mushrooms, I will brush them with a little olive oil and place them on a tray under a grill (broiler) on medium heat for about three minutes on each side.

I will chop the herbs and add them to the breadcrumbs

Then I will fill each of the big mushroom caps with the garlic, spring onion and chopped mushroom mixture, season with salt and pepper before adding the breadcrumb and herb topping.

With some olive oil and a little knob of butter on each filled mushroom, it’s back under the grill for a further two or three minutes until the breadcrumbs have turned golden in colour.

That’s what I would do if I were a gambler, but as was pointed out to me by my loving wife, if I die from eating poisonous mushrooms, what would the neighbours in the village say? She could never show her face on the Peninsula again (apparently) and it seems she’s not willing to leave Kilcrohane no matter what, not for a handful of deadly mushrooms or even a poisoned husband.

Gathering Mushrooms, Anúna

Goat or Sheep, take your pick.


3 thoughts on “Mushroom roulette anyone?

  1. Brian, what exactly is a glove of garlic? Is this a special trick you have so your hands won’t smell afterwards?! Thanks for great weekend!

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