Wine cap mushrooms are found in the spring and fall. They have beautiful cream-colored stems topped with a reddish brown-colored cap. When the mushroom is younger, the cap is shaped like a bell. As the mushroom grows, the cap flattens. The cap can get as large as a dinner plate! However, they're best eaten young, before the gills darken.
Wine cap mushrooms give off too much liquid while cooking, so they aren't great for sautéing. They're best for drying, for risottos, soups, and sauces. Wine caps don't pair well with a traditional onion/garlic sauté - instead, they're best cooked in lemon juice or wine, and seasoned with nutmeg or fennel.
Wine cap mushrooms are easy to cultivate, so if you'd like to try your hand at growing mushrooms next Spring, consider getting a wine cap mushroom spore culture.
(Image: Kathryn Hill)