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Chefs prize the hedgehog mushroom for its versatility, firm texture, and spicy hints of black pepper, coffee, and chocolate.
Matsutake has a spicy flavor. If you’re buying at the store, make sure it’s fresh (in the memorable phrase of mycologist-author David Arora, the aroma of an old one is a “provocative compromise between Red Hots and dirty socks”).
If you want to try foraging, the easily recognizable yellow chanterelle is a good first mushroom to hunt. Some epicures say its flavor is reminiscent of apricots.
King bolete’s earthy flavor is strongest when the mushroom is dried. But sliced fresh and grilled with a garlic–olive oil marinade, this mushroom (also known as porcini) earns its reputation as “poor man’s steak.”
Also called horn of plenty, the black trumpet, a chanterelle relative, packs a rich flavor with fruity undertones into its demure fluted form.
The yellowfoot has a fruity-earthy taste similar to that of yellow chanterelles and black trumpets, though its flavor is less pronounced. Balance its sweetness out with something salty by integrating the mushrooms into, say, a soy sauce reduction.