Mushrooms. I’m in love. I have always eaten mushrooms but it’s only in the last year that I have truly come to appreciate them. I remember watching a show on telly where an old Italian woman was cooking up field mushrooms on a burner in the woods. She whipped out some butter from under her belt (well, it was TV) threw in a bit of strategically grown parsley and fried up freshly picked beauties right there and then. They looked amazing: brown, golden, almost crunchy? Yes — crunchy.
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Hairy has been eating mushrooms much like I exercise. Go hard, go fast, go long — for two weeks. He ate them every day for breakfast straight-up on toast and now isn’t as fond as he once was. So we are treating mushrooms this season with moderation in our home, but when eaten cooked with respect.
Much like offal — you may love it, but you don’t really want to know where it comes from — mushrooms are grown in the dark and in, shall we say, rich compost. The darker and smellier the environment, the more beautiful the mushy. I’m not going to get into varieties here other than to say you had better be well versed on mushrooms if you decide to pick them yourself. Otherwise go with someone who knows what they are doing or buy them from a respectable vendor.
Here’s how you respect a mushroom:
Never wash a mushroom. If you look underneath a mushroom, it is full of gills that will soak up water quicker than a sea sponge at Bondi so there is no need to wash. Just gently wipe them with kitchen paper until clean.
If you are really fussy, you can peel them. I don’t think it’s necessary I just enjoy doing it. Use the pad of your thumb to feel under the rim of the cap and just peel back. It will peel back easily and you will be left with a super clean mushy.
Butter is better. Like before, mushrooms are like sponges but when cooked will lose a lot of water (90 percent of their content) cook them in a tiny bit of butter just to stop them from sticking and watch in wonderment as the water is cooked out and you are left with a beautiful flavour concentrated mushroom that you can then add flavours too or just eat on their own. Delicious!
2 veal steaks
350g mixed fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon butter
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup Marsala
Rocket to serve
Grill veal steaks to your liking, set aside to rest
Melt butter in a frying pan and add very finely diced shallots. Once soft, add mushrooms and cook for a good 10 minutes on a medium high heat until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add chicken stock and marsala to pan and reduce down until almost gone – about five minutes on a high heat. Once this is a syrupy consistency add parsley, throw mushrooms back in and stir. Place veal on serving plate sprinkle over mushrooms and pile high with rocket. Enjoy!
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