Monday, October 18, 2010

A Feast of Mushrooms …

I promised a mushroom recipe last blog and, as if to order, our sycamore stumps have given us first fruit, over a kilo (2 lbs) of oyster mushrooms.

In addition, our six-year-old neighbour Camille has been excitedly keeping us up to date with fungal developments on the field that adjoins her garden, a reliable source of field, fairy ring and parasol mushrooms (lucky us!) The thing is: what to do with them all. Frying them in butter and serving them on a slice of toast is always delicious but I wanted to explore other possibilities.

What better guide than Jane Grigson’s The Mushroom Feast with over 250 recipes? And what better person to buy me the book than my vegetarian stepdaughter, Christina? all the more fun as she’s not actually that keen on mushrooms. The book was bought as a challenge to see if I could convince her that mushrooms can be palatable, perhaps even tasty.

With cultivated oyster mushrooms and a handful of field mushrooms at my disposal, I poured a glass of vin blanc as aperitif and perused Grigson’s book.
Mushroom paste:
You’ll need some chopped onion, butter and oil, chopped bacon/lardons, chopped tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, a beaten egg, salt and cayenne pepper.
The method:
Brown the onion in butter, then add the bacon, toms and mushrooms. Once well cooked, liquidise. Mix in the egg and cook over a low heat until the mixture thickens (don’t let it boil). Season with salt and cayenne, tasting as you go.
To serve:
Spread generously on a slice of toast, or slice a baguette on the slant and dob a bit on each piece. Somewhat overwhelmed with the amount we produced, Gabrielle has also used it as a layer in the vegetarian lasagne we’re going to eat tonight.

In the hope of encouraging edible mushrooms, I’ve been collecting both field and parasol mushrooms and them chopping up and liquidising them with some water, then pouring this around the smallholding. (Just use one type of mushroom at each attempt). It’ll be a while but I’ll tell you if it works.

Photos top to bottom: fungus as food, oyster mushrooms cultivated on a sycamore stump, a baby, then adult, then chopped, then liquidised parasol mushroom.

Soon … more recipes with a porky vindaloo and the tale of a long day when everything went wrong for poor Bruno and Mélanie when trying to install their green roof.