WSIU InFocus (Episode #802)
Encore Broadcast: Thursday, February 13 at 9:30pm
Repeats: On WSIU HD -- 2/16 at 1:30pm, 2/21 at 5pm
Repeats: On WSIU World -- 2/16 at 9pm, 2/17 at 5:30pm
Oyster mushrooms can sometimes be found in local produce stores selling for over $5 a pound. Yet, why buy them when you can hunt your own for free? Chances are high that you can find plenty of these tasty fungi in a nearby forest as they grow in abundance in Southern Illinois. In this episode, filmed in high-definition, mushroom expert, naturalist, and author Joe McFarland shows us why hunting for oyster mushrooms is good for beginners because they are easy to find and identify. McFarland has formed a free organization called the Southern Illinois Mushroom Co-op where local mushroom growers, wild mushroom foragers, mycologists, and anyone who loves nature can share information and learn about regular monthly gatherings. To learn more and get on the group's mailing list, visit www.mushroomco-op.org.
In our second segment, McFarland and his friend, chef Lasse Sorensen of Tom's Place in DeSoto, Ill., prepare a chicken dish flavored with a blend of wild oyster mushrooms picked by McFarland, along with dehydrated wild mushrooms and button mushrooms. Before preparing the dish, McFarland describes how he uses a dehydrator to preserve wild mushrooms, which can then be stored whole in sealed glass containers or ground into powder to be used as seasoning. Sorensen demonstrates how he rehydrates the dried mushrooms by soaking them in dry white wine for an hour or overnight in a refrigerator. Unique to this dish is a demi-glace – a concentrated sauce base made from veal bones. The demi-glace, although not required in this dish, can be made from scratch or purchased at a specialty food store. View the recipe for Chicken Scaloppini with Wild Mushrooms.