By Sarah Elton - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 0 Comments
Pickers say the lacterius indigo is under threat
Once, when high on LSD, recounts the author and neurologist Oliver Sacks in his new book, Hallucinations, he was obsessed with the colour indigo. “It was the colour of heaven,” he writes. Sacks was desperate to see it—so much so that he began to conjure up a blob of indigo in his mind.
The lacterius indigo could have saved him a trip. The mushroom’s whitish cap looks deceptively plain, but if you flip it over, the gills are a brilliant blue. Slice into it, and the mushroom bleeds indigo-coloured milk. Cook it, and the flesh turns a greyish green. “It’s a green you’ve never seen in cooking,” says Fidel Brochu, a Quebec-based wild mushroom distributor who picked the lacterius indigo in Saskatchewan’s Torch River Provincial Forest last summer. When chef Gilles Herzog at F Bar in Montreal served them as a garnish, simmered in olive oil and cider vinegar, he made sure to explain what they were to his diners. “Sometimes clients find them bizarre,” he says. The mushrooms can be as small as a toonie or as large as dinner plates. Take a bite, and “it’s extraordinary,” says Elisabeth Poscher, who also harvests the mushroom. “It has a peppery taste. It’s—I don’t know. You have to try it.” Continue…