This is a mushroom that goes by many names: black chanterelle, black trumpet, horn of plenty, poor man’s truffle. In Latin it is Craterellus cornucopioide.
Without a separated stem and cap, the mushroom looks like an elongated funnel. The aromatic, thin-walled and delicate fungi range in color from grayish brown to almost black.
Beautiful velvety black with some brown or silver highlights, the black trumpet mushroom grows in clusters among dead leaves in mixed woods.
Seasonally available from late summer to winter (depending on the region), the black trumpet is beloved in the kitchen for both its beauty and flavor.
Cooking with Black Trumpet Mushrooms
Most recipes start with the words “heat butter,” and that is because the unique flavor of black trumpets needs little else. With a sweet, almost smoky flavor and a delightful texture, you will find that a sauté with butter, salt, pepper and grated Parmesan to finish is all you need. Experience the black trumpet this way first, then find ways to use it in recipes.
The black trumpet is quite versatile and works well with winter vegetables like butternut squash, tubers of all kinds, and Brussels sprouts. It’s also a favorite with eggs, meats, poultry, game birds and fish. Use its color to dramatic effect when plating.
Mushroom Preparation Tips
Do not rinse the mushrooms in water – this can destroy their texture; they absorb moisture like a sponge. Instead use a brush, cloth or paper towel to remove any unwanted particles. Store mushrooms in the refrigerator in a paper bag; plastic encourages deterioration in quality and texture. The bottom of the stem will often have debris from the forest floor; trim that off. Check the interior of the trumpet, as moss and other forest debris, like pine needles and sand, may be inside. If it’s not clean inside, make a neat slit along one side and brush out. You can even use your thumb to split the mushroom and brush it out.
Fun Fungi Fact:
While black trumpets are plentiful on the West and East Coast, they are one of the hardest mushrooms to forage, because they are so inconspicuous and blend in with the litter of the forest floor. They are a good beginner mushroom for hunters, as there are no poisonous look-a-likes.