What if fungus could be extraterrestrial, the portly portobello; a higher dimensional alien? The fact that the spores of fungus are electron-dense and able to survive the temperatures and other hazards of space travel it’s possible, dear friends, at one time, the humble enoki mushroom has travelled across galaxies and reached our little world. It must be true, I like the idea and I read it on the internet.
A large intellectual jump or have I, during the long summer season munched on too many magic mushies? Shroomed countless shrooms? Supped a bit of suspicious mushroom herbal tea??
Sounding a bit trippy here…..why did the Captain get invited to the aft deck with the guests? Because he was a fungi.
I really don’t think so. After all those months incarcerated in the galley, being kept in the dark and fed bullsh*t, I only felt like a mushroom……..I certainly didn’t feel any sense of infinite love, an awareness of peace, or a greater appreciation of my fellow crew members. In fact, on the contrary, a little bit of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds or Strawberry Fields mid season might just have helped prolong the stewardess`s life and my sanity. But, we are dedicated and professional yacht crew and all that tambourine shaking hippie stuff is frowned upon in the industry and illegal. Interestingly enough though, hallucinogens have played a part in religious ceremonies around the world and have probably been involved in the development of human spirituality over the years, now, there you go, that doesn’t come as a surprise.
According to hieroglyphs, ancient Egyptians believed mushrooms were the answer to immortality, they must have be stocking up on shrooms, I reckon, what with all that burying everyone and everything along with them.
Cultivated or wild, most people either really, really love them or hate them; the taste, the texture maybe putting them off and the belief that fungus only grows between the toes and other unspeakable moist places.
Mushrooms can help with weight management, build your immune system, increase your vitamin D levels as well as kicking in as anti inflammatory benefits.
Whatever side of the fungus fence you are on, you can’t deny there is something special and about marvellous mushrooms. Oyster, Portobello, Shiitake, the meaty heft and texture is hard to resist, brimming with earthy flavours, there’re great in a seasonal salad, a soothing soup or tucked up with some flavoursome rice in a paella pan.
A dedicated mycophile at heart, my idea of mushroom is crisp, golden and legal 😉 with a delicate crunch, kissed with a touch of magic, I humbly offer you the following recipes to be enjoyed this October when the evenings get cool and the light fades early.
Portobello Mushroom Soup with Bay Leaf
300ml single cream 1 litre of milk
200ml chicken stock 1 large onion, diced 50g butter
250g portobello mushrooms, finely sliced 100g button mushrooms, finely sliced 50ml dark sweet madeira wine
4 bay leaves
200ml double cream black pepper
Bring the single cream, milk and water slowly to the boil in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, slowly sweat the onion in another saucepan with the butter, 2 bay leaves and some salt. Once the onion is translucent, add the mushrooms and cook over a higher heat until the moisture cooks out. Add the madeira wine and reduce to a sticky glaze. Pour in the boiling cream mixture, stir well and bring pack to the boil. Cook for no longer than 5 minutes, remove leaves, then blend smooth. If you have infused the double cream with bay leaves overnight, remove before whisking the cream to a light chantilly – it should thicken and drop resentfully off a spoon.
Otherwise whisk in the shredded bay leaves. Serve the soup with a spoonful of double cream, salt and pepper
Mushroom Paella with Kale and Eggs
28 grams dried porcini mushrooms 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled, chopped 1 celery stick, chopped
450 grams crimini or portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped 6 sprigs of fresh parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns 1 teaspoon salt
Paella and assembly
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
650 grams crimini mushrooms, quartered salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped half red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 poblano chill, seeds removed, finely chopped 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 and a half cups short grain paella rice 1 cup dry white wine
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus more for serving I bunch kale, ribs and stalks removed…..about 8 cups
4 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley Mushroom stock
Place porcini mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes. Squeeze dry, save liquid and set aside mushrooms.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, carrot and celery, stirring occasionally until softened. Add crimini
mushrooms, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, salt, reserved porcini mushrooms and their soaking liquid and 6 cups of chicken stock. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain stock into a clean saucepan and keep warm over a low heat – you should have about 6 cups.
Preheat oven to 425F. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12 inch paella pan over medium high heat. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally until they release their liquid, about 4 minutes.
Continue to cook until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are golden brown and tender, 5 – 7 minutes, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan and cook onion, red pepper and chile, stirring often, until soft. Add garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, season with salt and pepper.
Add rice and fry, stirring constantly coating all the rice, about 3 minutes. With a flourish and a spin, add the wine and cook, stirring until completely evaporated, about 2 minutes. Return mushrooms to the pan, stir in 1 teaspoon thyme and add mushroom stock just to cover the rice, season with salt and pepper. Cook, without stirring, adding stock as needed to keep rice moist while cooking until rice is al dente and all liquid is absorbed. Shake pan after adding more stock to distribute evenly.
Continue to cook paella, occasionally moving pan around the heat to make sure all areas get evenly heated, until a crust forms around the side and bottom of the pan. The rice will smell toasted and make light cracking sounds – 6 – 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in large frying pan over medium high heat. Add kale, season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing until slightly wilted. Add 1/4 cup water to frying pan and cook kale, tossing until completely wilted, about 5 minutes.
Spoon over paella
Make shallow impressions in the top of the paella and crack an egg into each one. Transfer pan to oven and cook paella until egg whites are just set, about 8 – 10 minutes.
Top paella with parsley and more thyme and drizzle with a chile oil. Serve in pan. Not mushroom for improvement with this little gem, it’ll keep your crew happy and healthy.
King Trumpet Yakitori
1 scallion or spring onion, thinly sliced 1/3 cup mirin
1/3 cup sake
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup zarame sugar or raw sugar
4 small king trumpet mushrooms, trimmed, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon vegetable oil Salt
Eight 6 inch bamboo skewers, soaked at least for 15 minutes. Soak scallion in ice water for at least 10 minutes until crisp, drain.
Meanwhile, bring mirin, sake, soy sauce and sugar to boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 12 – 15 minutes. Set aside.
Prepare the grill for medium heat. Thread 3 mushroom pieces onto a skewer. Brush lightly with oil and season lightly with salt. Grill until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side. Then cook, brushing with mirin, sake and soy mixture, turning occasionally until glazed and tender, about 2 more minutes. Serve mushrooms topped with scallions.
Hasta la hongo!
Galley Goddess xoxo