- Clitocybe Nuda
The word blewit is an Old English contraction for "blue hat." The blewit is a medium-sized purple blue-capped mushroom with gills and stem of the same color. It drops pale-lilac spores. The cap fades to gray-brown with time. When young, the stem is fleshy and bulblike. The blewit has a clean and unique odor, varying according to where it has grown. Its scientific name has been changed so many times in the past fifteen years that many mushroom hunters have decided to use the old common name of blewit which hasn't changed in hundreds of years.
This purple-colored mushroom commonly grows in rings in open areas and under a variety of trees, including Monterey cypresses, acacias, oaks, and eucalyptuses. Those found under eucalyptus trees may have a disagreeable odor and taste when cooked. Young firm mushrooms are the most desirable.
The size and shape of Tricholoma flavovirens (formerly named equestre), a yellow forest mushroom with a sticky cap commonly called "man on horseback," is similar to the blewit, and, after peeling the cap, it is cleaned and cooked by mushroom enthusiasts in the same manner as the blewit. These mushrooms make a very pleasant dish when cooked with chicken broth and onions. Their flavor and texture are retained well after cooking.
Cleaning: Trim bases of any matted material. Brush the caps and stems with a little water, and drain on paper towels. Discard caps clearly invaded by insect larvae, and trim the affected parts. Insects are as fond of blewits as we are.
Cooking: This mushroom sautés beautifully. Sour cream combines with blewits especially well. Young caps are excellent pickled or marinated, after having been cooked.
Blewits have the unique ability of retaining their purple-blue hue after cooking. This offers the chef an opportunity to create a dinner using exciting color contrasts. For instance, a soufflé prepared with blewits sliced lengthwise and thin zucchini rounds produces an appetizing color and taste combination. A lovely purple aspic can be prepared from this attractive mushroom. Blewits are tasty prepared as duxelles.
Preserving: Sauté in butter and freeze. Dried blewits lose much of their flavor. Blewits can also be pickled whole, if small, or sliced and kept in the refrigerator for that special unannounced guest.