Those in attendance at that specific, immortal game of Guesstures some years ago will recall a vain attempt by a certain individual to put his teammates in mind of a particular maritime crustacean by scissoring his fingers over and over. But I am not here to rake over old coals.
That individual was Johnbai, and I bring him up merely because he is the thread that connects our topics tonight, and I saw him earlier today, when he strolled down the alley in the rain for a brief visit while he gave O some privacy.
Johnbai is actually homonymic with Jon of Monmouth, with whom I just had a long conversation via the miracle of wireless telephony. I am happy to report that Jon, despite his withdrawal of sorts from blogging, is hale and hearty, and full of vim and vigor. That's thread one.
Thread two is connected to Johnbai because it also concerns something lobsterish, but not quite. Do y'all remember the Chicken of the Woods mushroom from the Farmer's Market last year? Well, I went out looking for some recently, and came up empty, but picked up a Lobster Mushroom instead. I neglected to take a picture of it whole, but it looked a lot like this.
It turns out that besides the reddish color, Lobster Mushroom is nothing like Chicken of the Woods. First of all, it's not even a real mushroom: it's a fungus that grows on other mushrooms. Who knew? It's also not as woody as the Chicken of the Woods, and the shroom-hunter told me it had a way different taste. Still and all, it looked pretty substantial, so I got one about the size of two fists.
I finally cooked it up tonight. I sliced it in pretty good-sized chunks (the stem made medallions) and sauteed it in a reduction of onion and vegetable bouillon (my cupboard was a bit bare). During cooking, it gave off a fishy aroma, not unpleasant but certainly distinctive. Cooked "Lobster" doesn't have the corky consistency of "Chicken"; it got limp like most mushrooms do, but stayed solid. I served it over plain brown rice.
The fishiness didn't really extend to the taste, at least not so much as I noticed; it really tasted a lot like regular button mushrooms, just a bit richer. It really went well with the nuttiness of the brown rice; I don't think white rice would have been as good an accompaniment. All in all, Lobster Mushroom was filling and fine, but not a patch on Chicken of the Woods. It did, however, serve to class up my bachelor evening at home with The Swing Years and my syllabi.
And remember: lobsters horizontal, crabs vertical.