Fruits of the Forest Floor - recipe
Scrambled eggs with wild garlic and scarlet elf cap fungi.
I've been trying to be a little more adventurous with regards to my foraging exploits this year. I'm not new to foraging, but since a rather sickly incident with some false chanterelles back in 2005 I've stayed clear of all mushrooms apart from the field variety. I felt like I've been missing out on something magical, and recently, inspired by the Instagram posts of Wild Lakes Foraging (who you should definitely follow), I thought I'd pluck up the courage to try again, this time armed with a book, my phone and the trusty interweb.
Scarlet Elf Cups are beautiful. I can't do them any justice in a photograph. When you find them, hidden amongst the emerging ramsons, clinging to fallen branches, you will instantly know why they are called Elf Cups. They look distinctly like a vessel a fairy would drink from, possibly fresh blackthorn blossom nectar or birch sap.
Although the Woodland Trust dismiss this little beauty as inedible, it is delightful when cooked gently in a little butter. However, it is advised that you cook a single mushroom and eat a tiny piece before consuming a lot in case of any sensitivity. I don't think you'd want to eat loads, even if their taste is quite delicate and earthy and not at all over powering, simply because you'd want to leave some for the fairies and elves!
To complement the mushrooms I cooked them alongside their forest floor companion, the leaves of wild garlic (ramsons) and three freshly laid hens eggs from my friend's chickens. The result was a simple but elegant lunch, full of flavour and colour.
Scrambled Eggs with Wild Garlic and Scarlet Elf Cups - serves 1
1 tbsp salted butter
3 large fresh free range hen eggs beaten lightly with a splash of milk
5 Scarlet Elf Cups
Handful of fresh ramsons roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat and gently cook the scarlet elf caps for 2 minutes. `Lower the heat and add the eggs. Scramble gently until almost cooked to your liking. Add the chopped wild garlic and cook until wilted. Serve with hot buttered toast.
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