Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spoiled Rotten

When I started my new job last September (stupid economy) I asked about all the appropriate things- what will my role be, what are the projects like, how much are you gonna pay me. You know, the usual. It never occurred to me ask about the intangibles.

Lucky for me I liked the job for what it was, because it comes with some spectacular intangibles. Namely: mushrooms!

My new boss owns a ranch north of San Francisco in prime mushroom foraging territory. The other day he returned from the weekend with a veritable cornucopia of wild mushrooms. Chanterelles, winter chanterelles, black trumpets, hedgehogs, and candy caps. And just like that he put this basket overflowing with mushrooms on a low filing cabinet and said “Help yourselves.” Woohoo!

My colleagues and I are officially spoiled rotten.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with all of them! I'm told that these mushroom varieties freeze well and the black trumpets also dry well, too. That’s great because I wouldn’t want any of this bounty to go to waste.

I decided to start with my favorite standby mushroom recipe: Mushrooms on Toast from Canal House Cooking. This recipe is very forgiving and works well for all types of mushrooms. I once doubled it for a tapas party and brought the cooked mushrooms (a mix of button, crimini and shiitake) in a bowl, a platter of sliced baguette and a little bowl of chopped parsley. We each assembled individual little bites of mushroomy goodness and then went back for seconds.

Mushrooms on Toast
from Canal House Cooking, volume 2.
Serves 2-4 (depending on how much you like mushrooms)

3 Tbl butter
1 Tbl olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 lb cleaned halved mushrooms
salt and pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
bread for toast
handful chopped parsley leaves

Melt the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and mushrooms, season with S & P, and saute until the mushrooms have softened, ~5-10 minutes [I rarely time mushrooms- I just saute until they release their juices and start to turn golden]. Pour in the cream and stir; continue cooking for a few minutes more until the cream has thickened slightly. Serve over slices of buttered toast, topped with parsley.

Enjoy! Meanwhile, please drop a note in the comments if you know a great preparation for wild (or regular) mushrooms.

Disclaimer: He’s been doing this for years and knows his mushrooms. Don’t forage without a guide- some mushrooms WILL kill you. You’ve been warned.

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