Agaricus campestris

A campestrisMeadow Mushroom, Pink Bottom

Order Agaricales, family Agaricaceae

CAP SILKY WHITE, SOMETIMES GRAYISH BROWN

Cap:  2.5-11 cm wide; convex becoming flat; edge of cap extends beyond gills, enrolled in young, sometimes hung with veil remnants; dry, smooth, or silky with fibers; flesh not staining when bruised

GILLS BRIGHT PINK THEN CHOCOLATE-BROWN

Gills:  free at maturity; crowded, broad; pale pink before cap has opened, then bright pink, becoming dark chocolate brown

STALK WITH DELICATE RING

Stalk:  2-10 cm long, 1-2.5 cm thick; short usually thinning toward base; smooth above thin, band-like ring, often with fibrils below; white.  Ring:  thin ring on stalk, sometimes absent

SPORE PRINT CHOCOLATE BROWN

Spores 6.5-8 x 4-5.5 µm, elliptical, smooth

GROWS IN GRASS ON LAWNS

EDIBLE, CHOICE

Lookalikes:

Horse mushroom (A. arvensis) -- fragrant, bruises yellow, larger

Urban mushroom (A. bitorquis) -- thick double ring

The smooth Lepiota (Leucoagaricus naucinus) -- white spore print, thick ring

Vomiter (Chlorophyllum molybdites) -- grayish-green spore print, thick ring, scaly cap

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO KNOW....

This squat mushroom is often nestled in short grass, often in open lawns. If your favorite park is sprayed with herbicides or fungicides, look for refugees safely hiding from the spray guns under bushes or trees. Otherwise, stick to private lawns, particularly the ones that aren't so ruthlessly manicured.

The meadow mushroom closely resembles the common, supermarket button mushroom (A. brunescens).  But, of course, the wild one tastes better -- richer and more nutty. Yet, it lacks the gastronomical complexity of the horse mushroom (A. arvensis) or the urban mushroom (A. bitorquis). Like most mushrooms, it's much better thoroughly cooked.

PENELOPE'S PANTRY

The perfect mate to a cold meat or pate plate for late summer is this fennel and mushroom salad. It's light and, since fennel is believed to be a digestive aid, it may help your body process the fats in the meat more efficiently.  The meadow mushroom works well in this recipe.  It's a firm mushroom and, even though the flavor is mild, it's not lost behind the other ingredients.

Fennel and Meadow Mushroom Salad

2 c    sliced fennel root
1 c sliced, cooked meadow mushroom (Agaricus campestris)
½ c coarsely chopped fresh parsley
2 c quartered roma tomatoes
1/3 c thinly sliced red onion

Dressing

2 T olive oil
1 T dark sesame oil
4 T white wine vinegar
2 T balsamic vinegar
pinch of ground rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Combine and lightly toss the vegetables.  Whisk together the oils, vinegars, and spices.  Pour over the vegetables and marinate at room temperature for one hour before serving.  Serves 6 as a side dish.


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