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Posts Tagged ‘fungi’

Oyster mushroom_9884

 

A couple of weeks ago I rediscovered the Chelsea Market – a spot called by its founders “an urban food court.”  Oh, I knew it was there, but just too out-of-the-way for everyday food shopping.  Located on 9th Avenue about 16th Street in the old National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) factory, many of the artifacts of its previous life remain which makes a visit there a little bit other-worldly.  Running along the center courtyard-like hall are wonderful food shops offering prime and sometimes unique products.  Since everything is so inviting, it is yet another place that tends to make me spend more than I have in my pocket.

Manhattan Fruit Exchange is one of my favorite shops in the Market.  They have been around forever supplying restaurants, but are most welcoming to everyday shoppers.  You can always find an array of exotic fruits and vegetables, the first products of the every season, and a wide variety of fresh and dried mushrooms and herbs.  It was the mushrooms that caught my eye the other day – especially a beautiful stack of floral oyster mushrooms.  I couldn’t resist buying a big lump of fresh-looking “petals.”  Along with the mushrooms I got some of the best spring asparagus and a few spring onions and I knew exactly what I’d do when I got home.

Here’s my plan:  I trimmed the asparagus, split the onions in half, lengthwise, and laid them out on a baking pan along with my bouquet of mushrooms.  I seasoned with sea salt and pepper, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and added some fresh orange and lemon juice to the pan.  Roasted them all together in a hot oven to serve as an appetizer (with a spritzing of aged balsamic) for a little quiet welcome spring dinner.  Yum, yum, yum!

 

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I was asked to make a Sunday dinner when we were visiting friends in Mill Valley (California) last month.  The days had been pretty chilly and damp so the menu was highlighted with a rich, winey beef stew BUT the star of the meal was the fresh porcini salad that began the feast.  The porcini had been foraged from the Marin hills just the day before – they were huge, dense, meaty, earthy, and oh! so delicious.  I gave them a quick sauté in extra virgin olive oil, laid them on some baby spinach leaves, sliced some ricotta salata over the top and drizzled the salad with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette.  What could possibly be better – but it only works when you have a skilled forager knocking on your back door!  I can assure you that this doesn’t happen in New York City.

 

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