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Recipe: Black trumpet mushroom pasta, simple & delicious

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Black trumpet mushrooms (Craterellus fallax), aka black chanterelles, are a choice edible mushroom with flavor notes comparable to truffles. In this article, you’ll discover how to find black trumpets and make a simple, delicious meal with them. 


We love foraging and growing mushrooms. Similar to the flavor diversity in fruits and veggies, every mushroom species offers different, nuanced flavors. Like fruits and veggies, mushrooms are also seasonal, with different species of edible mushrooms growing in every season of the year. 

While we don’t have a favorite mushroom, we can say that there isn’t a North American mushroom we know of that tastes better than black trumpets, aka black chanterelles.

(Read our chanterelle foraging guide to learn more about finding different species of chanterelle mushrooms.) 

What do black trumpet mushrooms taste like? Black trumpets have a rich, earthy, fungal flavor that’s somewhat comparable to truffles. 

 

East coast US black trumpet mushrooms (Craterellus fallax)

In American, black trumpet mushrooms are found on both the west and east coasts. They’re also found in Europe and other areas of the world. 

Common names for these fungi vary by region and country:

  • black trumpets,
  • horn of plenty,
  • trumpet of the dead (not because they’re poisonous, but because they’re black, horn-shaped mushrooms, and emerge from the ground),
  • black chanterelles.  

Here in the east, our native black trumpet species is Craterellus fallax, which produces a yellowish-orange spore print. Black trumpet mushroom species found elsewhere in the world have a white or creamy spore print. 

A beautiful harvest of black trumpet mushrooms.

A beautiful harvest of black trumpet mushrooms (Craterellus fallax).

Visually, the various species of black trumpet mushrooms look nearly identical. Although somewhat common, their black-grey color and wrinkly texture provides excellent camouflage, making them very difficult to see. 

For reference, here’s a quick video showing black trumpet mushrooms growing in association with beech tree roots in August in South Carolina (they’re a summer mushroom here):  

 

*Note: Video may not play if you’re running ad blocking software.  

Host trees:

Although black trumpet mushrooms are mycorrhizal with other hardwood tree species such as oaks, we almost always find them associating with beech trees in our area.

They’re either emerging from leaf litter or moss under their host trees, usually on disturbed hillsides or trail edges. 

Can you spot the black trumpet mushrooms emerging from the forest floor in this picture?

Can you spot the black trumpet mushrooms emerging from the forest floor in this picture?

Season:

In our area (the Upstate region of South Carolina), black trumpet mushrooms fruit from June – September

Cooking recommendations for black trumpet mushrooms

There are countless recipes you can make with black trumpet mushrooms. Even though they offer a rich fungal flavor, they can be overpowered in strongly flavored sauces. 

We recommend making them the star of the recipe so their sublime, subtle flavor really pops. For instance, you probably wouldn’t want to add them to a tomato sauce or pesto, which could overpower them. 

Our favorite simple way to use them is in pastas or as a bread dip — and the recipe below can be used to make either one… 

Black trumpet mushrooms pasta recipe

This black trumpet mushroom pasta recipe lets the full nuanced flavor of the mushrooms shine.

recipe for black trumpet mushroom pasta
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Black trumpet mushroom pasta

Course: Dinner
Keyword: black chanterelles, black trumpet mushrooms
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2

A simple, delicious pasta recipe starring black trumpet mushrooms (Craterellus fallax and other related species).

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place mushroom in saute pan with 1/2 tsp salt and add just enough water to pan to cover the mushrooms. Cook on medium high heat (6 on our stove) until water has almost cooked off, about 20-30 minutes. (This ensures the mushrooms are thoroughly cooked and chitin in cell walls is broken down.) Then add olive oil + fresh herbs. Turn heat down to medium low (3 on our stove) to let remaining water cook off and herbs + mushroom flavors infuse the oil, about 15 minutes. You don't want to burn the herbs or let their volatile flavor compounds be degraded. (*To make a black trumpet mushroom bread dip, stop here and add these ingredients to a blender.)

  2. On separate burner, bring water to boil with salt added to help flavor noodles. Once pasta is cooked, strain then add to pan with mushrooms. Toss noodles and mushrooms together with stove on low heat.

  3. Plate dish then top with fresh-grated parmesan cheese.

Mastered this recipe? Be sure to try our black trumpet mushroom & smoked gouda soufflé recipe next! 

Black trumpet mushroom & smoked gouda soufflé.

Black trumpet mushroom & smoked gouda soufflé – a flavor combination you’ll never forget.

Enjoy! 

KIGI,

Other fungi articles you’ll want to explore:

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Ina Lipkowitz
    August 10, 2021 at 7:45 am

    A friend showed up with a basket of black trumpet mushrooms he had foraged in the woods near where we live in Western Massachusetts. I found your recipe online. Completely delicious! I wouldn’t have known to simmer the mushrooms in water before sauteeing, but doing so seems to have made all the difference. Thank you for this wonderful & so very quick/easy recipe!

    The same friend, by the way, brought a basket of oyster mushrooms as well. We broiled them very simply as a first course. What would you have done with them?

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      August 10, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Glad you liked this black trumpet mushroom recipe, Ina! Sounds like you have a very good friend. 🙂 Black trumpets are such a delicious mushroom.

      Oyster mushrooms are very versatile – there are thousands of ways you could cook them. Our personal favorite oysters are King oysters, which are almost indistinguishable from scallops when properly prepared. However, what you probably have there is a species/sub-species of summer-fruiting oyster mushrooms. Here again, you can keep things very simple in the kitchen… Unlike black trumpets, oysters are much meatier with a lot of water in their cells. That means you need to “sweat” them (aka cook the water out) before eating them for ideal flavor and texture. Next time you get some summer oysters, cut them into chunks, put them in a pan over medium heat with a splash of white wine. Add butter or olive oil, sea salt, and maybe a bit of herb (like thyme) as well. Within about 5 minutes, the pan will fill with water as the mushrooms’ cells start to burst and release the water. Then you just cook all the water out and keep cooking until the mushrooms are lightly browned. Add some diced garlic and a bit more butter/oil a few minutes before the mushrooms finish (garlic cooks quickly, as you probably know). This is a good foundational recipe that really shows off the base flavor of oyster mushrooms and will give you ideas for future iterations.

      Happy mushroom foraging and cooking! And please rate our black trumpet recipe if you enjoyed it since that helps other people find it. Thank you!

  • Reply
    April Gordon
    July 21, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    I would love to rate this recipe but have never found a black trumpet mushroom in my area of coastal South Carolina and inland to Santee lakes area. We find lots of chanterelles and cinnabars so wonder if the black grows here or only in upstate. Any idea on where or if I can find them in my area? Thanks and love your mushroom articles and recipes.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      July 21, 2021 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks, Dr. Gordon (aka mom!). Unlike morels, it appears that black trumpets do grow down in Lowstate South Carolina. I see them referenced in several area publications, such as:
      -https://charlestonmag.com/features/into_the_woods
      -http://lowcountrycuisinemag.com/featured/palmetto-mushrooms-llc-foraging-for-flavor/

      Both publications reference foragers who find black trumpet mushrooms in Charleston, SC, so presumably they’d also be in other areas of the Lowstate as well, such as the Santee/Summerton area. They are VERY hard to spot so it’s possible you’ve walked right over them while harvesting chanterelles and cinnabars. From our experience, black trumpets are more rare than those other two mushroom species, so it might be you just need to broaden your search to some new areas. As you know, the good news with black trumpets and other mycorrhizal mushrooms: once you find a spot where they’re fruiting, you can reliably go back to the same spot at roughly the same time in future years to find more.

      Perhaps we’ll find some together during our visit in August. 🙂

  • Reply
    Linda Marie
    December 5, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    I received a package of black trumpet mushrooms in a grocery delivery by accident and wondered what to do with them. I’m thrilled that I came across your recipe. I made it tonight and it was absolutely sublime! I’ve already shared the recipe with friends! 5 star recipe!!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      December 6, 2020 at 12:55 pm

      Thanks, Linda! Lucky you getting black trumpet mushrooms by accident. They may well be the best tasting native mushroom we know of. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

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