Fairy Ring Mushroom

Marasmius arcades

banner

Also fairyring, mousseron, Scotch bonnet

Fairy rings surprise with a flavor far more pronounced than one might expect from something so small: nutty, toasty, with a bitter-almond edge. Alan Davidson writes (in The Oxford Companion to Food) that “they are traditionally the mushrooms which are added to English steak and kidney pies,” certainly no place for shy violets.

“But it is the French who make a big deal of them, who really love the big flavor of those mini-mushrooms,” says the chef, restaurateur, and mycophile Jean-Louis Palladin. “Where I grew up, in Condom, people would pursue them like crazy. They take up little airplanes to hunt them. You’d spot a big area of green mousse [moss] and know where to find mousserons.”