Beautiful dots of mauve among the green forest floor. Little jewels that are simply delightful. That would be the fruiting body of a mushroom called Laccaria amethyst-occidentalis.
Edible – McDowell feels that they are somewhat akin to the chicken of the woods – very mild taste (like almost none for her taste buds) but nice and chewy. Great to add for texture and McDowell then flavours with other mushrooms or her standby favourites garlic and onions — and yes, it’s true, these days she’s paring them with strawberries.
About the Laccaria amethyst-occidentalis
Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis is a mushroom found under conifers, usually pine, growing alone, scattered or gregariously in western North America. The cap is 1–7 cm; broadly convex to plane, becoming nearly flat with age; often with a central depression. The surface is nearly bald, or fibrillose to scaly. Cap is hygrophanous, dark purple, purple, fading to brownish purple or buff.
The gills are attached to the stem, sub-distant to distant, purple fading to dull lilac or grayish purple. The stem is 1.5–12 cm long and 0.5-1.5 cm thick, equal or slightly swollen at the base and strongly grooved, with striated, coarse hairy or scaly purplish to pale purple color. The flesh is thin purple to whitish. The mushroom is edible.
More information: Laccaria amethyst-occidentalis: Wikipedia