Black Trumpet Salt and Kate's Farinata
Black Trumpets (Craterellus fallax) can be hard fungi to find, but they are choice edibles not easily mistaken for anything else. For this reason, I include them on my list of good species for novice foragers. I came across them for the first time this year. As these are delicate little mushrooms and I only collected about ¼ pound, I decided to forego my usual pan-fried taste test and head straight to a recipe: Black Trumpet salt (Photo 1). The result is very nice on eggs, and I found it particularly good on a treat I make regularly: farinata. I’ve included that recipe here as a bonus.
Most of the Trumpet Salt recipes I found said to use equal parts by weight of mushrooms and coarse salt. I measured them out and here’s what it looked like (Photo 2). To me, that looked like WAY too much salt for the volume of mushrooms and I used less than half that in the end. I’d use even less next time and am suggesting a ratio of 3:1 for this recipe. A mushroom-expert friend told me to “measure with your heart”, and so that’s the advice I pass on to you!
Black Trumpet Salt
4oz (113 grams) Black Trumpet mushrooms, brushed clean of debris
About 1.3 oz (~38 grams) coarse salt (I suggest a 3:1 mushroom-to-salt ratio, but ‘measure with your heart’)
Chop Trumpets finely in a blender or food processor and add salt. Blend until well combined. The result will be a sort of lumpy paste. Spread on a baking sheet and place in the oven at the lowest setting (I did mine at 170F; you could also use a dehydrator). Check the salt every hour, stirring it around and breaking up any clumps so you don’t end up with one solid mass. Continue until thoroughly dry (mine took four hours). Bottle and enjoy!
Kate’s Farinata with Dried Onions and Black Trumpet Salt
1 cup chickpea flour
1 1/3 cup water
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
½ tsp table salt
2 tbsp onion flakes (or to taste)
½ tsp Black Trumpet salt (or to taste)
Put water in a bowl and slowly add chickpea flour, whisking as you go. Set mixture aside for at least an hour (I typically mix this up in the morning and leave it sit until I make my farinata in the evening).
Preheat oven to 450F. Add 1½ tbsp olive oil and ½ tsp table salt to the chickpea flour mixture and whisk well. Add 1½ tbsp olive oil to an 8” or 10” cast iron pan and place on the stovetop over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, pour in the chickpea mixture and allow to cook for a few minutes until it starts to bubble and the edges start to brown. Do not stir. (I break any big bubbles with a toothpick). Once it starts bubbling, sprinkle onion flakes and Black Trumpet salt over the top.
Remove the pan from the stovetop and put it into the oven. Cook for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and cooked all the way though (Photo 3). (I use an 8” pan; check it a bit earlier if using a 10” pan). Cut into wedges and enjoy! This is best when it’s warm and crispy but is still OK the following day.
Pro tip: You can use the farinata recipe with any topping: thinly-sliced onions, cooked wild mushrooms, blanched stinging nettle, or blue cheese are some of my favourites!