Here in the Southern tip of Illinois we get no respect. We aren't Northerners, we aren't Southerners we seem to fall into a dead zone between the two. When Spring comes to the land between the rivers we get the one benefit of living in the mud and muck, wild mushrooms.
We have many to choose from and they seem to phase in and out leaving the picking for the next variety. We get Puffballs, we get Morels, we also get what I've always called Elephant ears. They are a meaty and broad mushroom that grow on the trunks of dead trees they come on first too so we get to tromp around in the mud along the railroad tracks and hunt them.
For some reason the big ones like to grow just out of reach and it isn't easy to tote a ladder around in the thickets and woods where they are found. It's okay, the big ones are a little woody in texture so I just go for the ones I can reach. They are fan shaped and pinkish gray with white gills. You never take them all off of a tree either so they can regenerate next year.
So we take our mushrooms and wash them in cold water. This gets the dirt and the little bugs that tend to hide in them out. We trim the wood and pulp from where they were attached to the tree too. Then soak them in a brine made of table salt and cold water, overnight is best, but at least a couple of hours. Take a whole egg and whisk it with some milk, salt, and pepper. For the outer coat, I use all purpose flour with a touch of garlic powder, salt and lots of coarse black pepper, now you can use Cavender's Greek seasoning and that'll do. Dip them in the egg mixture. Then, dredge them through the flour and seasoning mix.
Cook them in hot oil or shortening until they float then turn them over. When both sides are crisp and golden they are done. Now the health conscious will want to use some healthy oil but the truth is that they taste best when cooked in lard. They also go well when they are covered with a peppered country gravy. Mmmm them is some tasty mushrooms.
Now some folks call these Oyster Mushrooms but we call them Elephant ears here. Either way cook them up the way I just told you and you will love them too.