I took the dog on a nice long hike today, and we came across some edible mushrooms I hadn’t seen before. Helvella lacunosa or fluted black elfin saddle.
Here in the Pacific Northwest we have a lot of mushrooms this time of year, but the edible ones near trail edges tend to get scooped up rather quickly. I think these ones had been left alone because they are a rather unusual-looking species.
The only other species that looks close is the hooded false morel, which is poisonous, but does not have the characteristic fluting in the stem. Although the fluted black elfin saddle is considered edible, they must be either cooked or dried first in order to dissipate the monomethylhydrazine they contain, which is a toxic substance.
I shall enjoy them with quail breasts and wild greens as my dinner tonight!