Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Monday Night Supper: Mushrooms

Monday night we had fresh mushrooms as a sauce on little cheese souffles. We ate broccoli rabe (also called broccoli di rapi or rapini) as a side dish (no pic of that - it was green). This was a good idea: the souffle and mushrooms were rich, so the bitterness of the rabe was a great counterpoint.

I am working with souffles right now, trying to find an elegant bake-ahead option. I was pretty happy the taste and texture with these, but still need to increase the elegance factor. I'll post the recipe when I'm happy with it. Promise.

Anyway, the mushrooms:

These are morels. This is morel season and you may see them in specialty markets (Whole Foods will probably carry them too). They are pricey (mine were $25 a pound), but you don't need much to make an impact - I got about $5 worth and that was plenty (mixed with other mushrooms) to make an impact. Their flavor is deep and woodsy and not very mushroom-like. Quite nice. I cut the small ones in half and the large ones into quarters.

And these are the hedgehogs. Aren't they cute? They have little spines growing off the caps. The spines are soft and taste just like the rest of the mushroom. And how do they taste? Really nice, the flavor was a little sweet and very rich in mushroom flavor. I do think that the flavor of the morels was stronger, so if I try them again, I'll probably saute them with a milder mushroom like cremini (or even plain white button) mushrooms.

The cooking method for the mushrooms was easy:
  • Brush off any grit or dirt
  • Cut them into relatively uniform pieces (shoot for the largest size possible)
  • Heat a combination of butter and olive oil in a skillet or saute pan
  • When hot, add mushrooms (morels first), sprinkle with salt and saute until tender - this should take about 5 minutes or so
  • Gild the lily if you wish by adding a splash of cream
  • Toss in a little finely chopped parsley
  • Check for salt and pepper and serve
Quantity-wise, I used about a 1/4 pound of each type of mushroom - this was enough for a saucy side dish for two. If you have no cheese souffles at hand, you could also toss these with pasta or serve them over a grilled steak.


Fearless Kitchen said...

This looks fantastic. I've never even tried to make a soufle, so it looks plenty elegant to me :) I love mushrooms, and I love how you've used them in the sauce here. I've never even seen hedgehog mushrooms!

Sunday Cook said...

Glad to see I brought the glamour. :-)

Souffles aren't that hard really. Once I'm happy with this recipe I'll do a post with lots of pictures.

Julia said...

Depending on how much of a purist you are, CostCo now sells mixed dried mushrooms which have at least that many morels for about ten dollars (which, of course, leaves all the rest for other dishes)/

Sunday Cook said...

Ah, not that much of a purist. As much as I'd like to live in a Michael Pollan/Alice Waters/Barbara Kingsolver sorta world, where I pluck morels from the forest floor myself, care for my own chickens and eat nothing that wasn't grown within one mile of my home ... 'tis not to be.

I'll keep an eye out for them the next time I am in Costco - thanks for the tip!

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