Craterellus cornucopioides: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Craterellus cornucopioides Mushroom
Craterellus Calicornucopioides is easily recognized by its small, dark grey to blackish funnel-shaped fruiting body and tendency to fruit in clusters. Finding it in the field, however, can be a challenge. Its diminutive size and somber color allow it to blend remarkably well into its surroundings. Many mushroom hunters describe searching for black chanterelles as looking for small black holes in the ground.
These mushrooms are gourmet edibles. They have a smoky, rich flavor and a pleasant, fruity aroma. There are no poisonous look-alikes, making this a great mushroom for beginners to identify.
This classic European species was first named and described by Linnaeus (1753), and is often called the "black trumpet" in English, or trompette de la mort in French. It is deeply vase-shaped, and its surfaces are dark gray to black. As the mushrooms mature, the outer surfaces develop a whitish to cream-colored sheen, resulting from the maturation of spores.
Other names: Black Trumpets, Black Chanterelle, Horn Of Plenty, Trumpet Of The Dead, Poor Man’s Truffle.
Craterellus cornucopioides Identification
Mycorrhizal with hardwoods and, less frequently, with conifers; growing scattered, gregariously, or (usually) in tightly packed clusters, often in mossy areas; summer and fall; widely distributed in Europe. The illustrated and described collection is from northern Italy.
3-5 cm wide; 5-9 cm high; without a clearly defined cap and stem; tubular at first, becoming deeply vase-shaped; the upper edge rolled under when young and often partly rolled under in maturity; thin-fleshed.
Black to dark gray; finely roughened or finely scaly with dark fibers and scales over a paler, grayish, or grayish-brown base color.
Smooth or very shallowly wrinkled; dark gray to black, with a whitish bloom.
Thin and brittle; blackish.
Odor and Taste
Taste mild; odor not distinctive, or somewhat sweet and fragrant.
White to creamy.
Craterellus cornucopioides Tips For Harvesting & Storage
To harvest black trumpets, cut the mushroom off at ground level. Store them in paper or wax paper bags (or wrapped in wax paper). When cleaning black trumpets, cut larger mushrooms in half lengthwise as there can be debris in the funnel. Cut off the dirty bottom part of the stem if necessary.
Black Trumpets are difficult to find, but they can grow in quite large clusters. They often can be found in the same location year after year.
Craterellus cornucopioides Taxonomy & Etymology
Carl Linnaeus described this species in 1753 and called it Peziza cornucopioides; Christiaan Hendrik Persoon, in his 1825 publication, gave it the name Craterellus cornucopioides. Synonyms include Cantharellus cornucopioides (L.) Fr., and, perhaps much more surprisingly, Pleurotus cornucopioides (L.) Gillet.
In Greek mythology one version of the origin of Cornucopia (and there are several others) was that it a magical horn that the young Zeus accidentally broke from the head of the goddess Amalthea, who has suckled the child while he was hidden away from his father Cronos (or Kronos), who made a habit of eating his new-born sons to thwart the prophesy that he would be overthrown by his son. Zeus survived and overthrew Cronos. The horn of Amalthea, the Cornucopia, inherited the goddess's divine power of providing unending supplies of nourishing food.
Craterellus cornucopioides Cooking Notes
Craterellus cornucopioides tastes a lot better than it looks. These mushrooms can be dried (over a radiator or in a warm oven with the door open) and then stored in airtight jars for future use. We also make them into a sauce and then freeze meal-sized portions in (labeled!) polythene bags or plastic boxes. This way we can have a lovely mushroom sauce with meals through the winter.
Trumpets need to be very carefully cleaned. Their trumpet shape may capture quite a bit of sand, dirt, or other vegetable matter. Sometimes splitting them in half is best. You can easily do this by gently pulling at opposite sides of the cap. They are great sautéed, tempura fried or dried. A thin batter is best when tempura frying. I think they are best plainly prepared or in a recipe that showcases trumpet flavor. They should be tasted cooked before deciding where to go recipe-wise.
They can be mixed and matched with most foods you would associate with white wine. A mix of various Craterellus and Cantharellus species (chanterelles and trumpets) is good because they have similar flavor characteristics.
Recipe: Black Trumpets in a Custardy Scramble
56.7 grams (¼ cup) dried Black Trumpet mushrooms or 113 grams (½ cup) fresh
30 ml (2 tablespoons) heavy cream
Salt, to taste
70.87 grams (5 tablespoons) butter, or as needed
Ground pepper, to taste
Chopped wild onion greens, for garnish (optional)
How to cook
If using dried mushrooms, rehydrate mushrooms in warm water or stock for 1 hour. Drain liquid (strain and reserve liquid for future soups or sauces, if desired), and chop. If using fresh mushrooms, split them open, brush off any dirt, and chop.
Place a frying pan over medium heat, and beat eggs together with cream and salt for at least 30 seconds.
Liberally coat the hot frying pan with 44-59 ml (3-4 tablespoons) of the butter.
Add the egg mixture, then sprinkle chopped trumpets and pepper over the egg. Stir often, scraping up any egg that sticks to the pan.
Just as the eggs are beginning to form a custard, remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes to let custard set. When it reaches your desired consistency, stir 15-30 ml (1-2 more tablespoons) of butter.
If desired, garnish with chopped wild onion greens. Enjoy!
Recipe: Simple Trumpet Sauté
8 oz fresh black trumpets
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans vegetable or chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil (or unsalted butter)
How to cook
Heat oil in large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic for about 2 minutes.
Add cleaned mushrooms, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve.
Recipe: Chanterelle and Black Trumpet Mushroom Carbonara
4 ounces homemade spaghetti or another long pasta
2 egg yolks preferably high quality farm eggs
1 ounce unsmoked ham like prosciutto, cut into ¼ inch julienne
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
3 ounces young golden chanterelle mushrooms rinsed in water and layed to dry on towels, if dirty
A few fresh black trumpet mushrooms cut into 1/8 inch julienne
Fresh snipped chives to garnish
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fresh grated nutmeg optional, but recommended
How to cook
Bring a pot of boiling salted water to a boil for the pasta. Melt the butter over medium heat, then add the chanterelles and cook slowly until just lightly browned, then add 1/4 cup heavy cream and cook for a few minutes.
Remove the pasta from the water, then transfer immediately to a mixing bowl and toss well with the ham, egg yolk, cheese, 1 tablespoon of the pasta water and the chanterelles. Divide the pasta between two preheated dinner bowls, garnish with the black trumpets and chives and serve immediately.
Recipe: Salmon with Trumpet Sauce
2 - 4 medium salmon filets
3/4 - 1 lb fresh black trumpets, chopped (the more, the better!)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup broth (vegetable, chicken, fish, whatever works for you)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 stick butter
How to cook
These instructions are for the mushroom topping. Cook the fish according to the directions on the packaging.
In a heavy skillet on medium heat, melt the butter. Once it's melted, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add your cleaned and chopped black trumpets and sauté them for 5 minutes. Next add the chopped green onion and cook until they're slightly wilted, usually another minute or two.
Add the wine and broth. Continue to cook until the volume of all the liquids is reduced by about half.
Remove from heat and season with any desired salt and pepper. Serve on top of the cooked salmon.
Recipe: Wild Foraged Black Trumpet Mushroom Spread
1 tablespoon Ghee or butter
2 tablespoons Garlic Scapes or shallots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Black Trumpet Mushrooms (cleaned)
8 ounce Cream Cheese (organic, cultured)
1 pinch Sea Salt to taste
1 pinch White Pepper to taste
How to cook
In a skillet over medium/low heat, sauté garlic scapes in ghee until soft.
Add in black trumpet mushrooms continue sautéing until mushrooms are cooked through and any liquid is evaporated.
Reduce heat to low, add cream cheese (cut or scooped into roughly 1 tablespoon sized chunks). Stirring constantly until the cream cheese is melted and mixed throughly.
Transfer to a an air tight jar or container and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours prior to allow the flavors to come together.
Remove dip from at the refrigerator roughly 30 minutes prior to serving to allow it to warm to room temperature. Serve with crackers, toasted bread or raw vegetables.
Use 1 ounce dried Black Trumpets that have been reconstituted in warm water in place of the fresh.
Recipe: Black trumpet mushroom pasta
3 cups loose packed black trumpet mushrooms (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh-grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tbsp sea salt for pasta water
1/2 tsp pink sea salt for for mushrooms, or to taste
4.4 ounces pasta noodles (2 serving sizes) - we used half a box of 4mm Grand Mere organic whole grain free-range egg pasta noodles (No. 4)
How to cook
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.)
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.
Plate dish then top with fresh-grated parmesan cheese.
Recipe: Creamy Leeks Recipe + Black Trumpet Mushrooms
1 cup washed trumpets (about 2 cups whole, dry)
5 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 (heaping) cup of leeks (cut leeks into 1 inch chunks and then halve them); Let layers fall apart
2 Tablespoons chicken broth
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
1 Tablespoon white wine (I used chardonnay)
1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
pinch of black pepper
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 thick slices of a large baguette
8 slices of mozzarella cheese
How to cook
In large skillet or dutch oven, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
Add garlic and leeks and allow to cook 1-2 minutes.
Then add chicken broth, cream, wine, and thyme.
Let simmer 10 minutes, uncovered.
Add salt and pepper and stir.
Cover and turn heat to low to keep warm.
On a cookie sheet with foil on it, place the 4 pieces of bread and butter each with 1/2 Tablespoon butter.
Place two slices of mozzarella cheese on each and set aside (turn your broiler on).
Remove thyme sprigs from the leek mixture and then add your mushrooms to your pan, turn heat back up to medium and cover, 1-2 minutes.
In skillet, add 1 Tablespoon butter and cook 4 eggs over-easy.
Give trumpets a stir to mix in with leeks and re-cover. Remove from heat.
Broil toast with cheese on it, for approx. 3 minutes or until cheese just barely starts to turn brown and bubble.
Remove toast from broiler.
On each plate, place the toast, then an egg over-easy and then the mushroom mixture.
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