During our foraging hikes recently we happened upon a beafsteak fungus growing off a very healthy looking Messmate Eucalypt. I was very excited as I had been looking for this bracket fungus for several years.
Its smell was quite unusual and because of its clear identifying features and the lack of dangerous lookalikes I was confident about cooking and eating this fungus.
Slicing the fungus you could clearly see why it was described as appearing similar to a steak of beef – it looked and felt incredibly similar, even mildly bleeding a red resin. I cooked this in sesame oil and ate it with coriander and lime mainly because the citrusy smells of the fungus cooking made me think of Asian flavours and textures.
The cooked slices tasted like citrusy pork fat or eggplant. Quite an interesting flavour. That night I slept unusually well and woke up feeling refreshed and invigorated. While at the time I found the texture a little strange, I have been thinking about it sense and would love to find more.
As always its important to remember that you should not even consider picking or consuming any fungus that you find in the wild unless you are 100% certain of its ID. At Selby Shrooms we do not condone the uninformed collection or consumption of wild mushrooms and in fact we suggest that unless you are completely certain that a fungus is safe to consume you should not even consider it.
At Selby Shrooms we have spent the time and have the luxury of sending all of our wild collected mushrooms for DNA extraction and sequencing to confirm macroscopic identification.
As media outlets often remind people there are fatally poisonous mushrooms in Australia – the death cap and a deadly Galerina species being relatively common around the Dandenongs and Yarra Ranges.
However Fistulina hepatica is unusual in that because of its distinct shape and appearance there are very few other fungi that can be mistaken for it.