Posts Tagged ‘mushrooms’



Nobody loves mushrooms more than my son, Mickey.  He would eat them daily and the more obscure and expensive they are the more he likes them.  His usually are part of a rich sauce to accompany venison, or lamb, or lobster and he would never think of “wasting” them in pasta.  I, however, think they make a perfect mating with cheese and noodles so this is one of the ways I find to use beautiful chanterelles.  I find that they absorb the fattiness of the butter and cheese which only enhances their delicate, nutty flavor.

1 pound dried malfalda pasta or other noodles with a rippled or ridged edge
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, peeled and minced
½ pound chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half, lengthwise, if very large
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper for garnish

Place the pasta in a large pot of heavily-salted boiling water set over high heat.  
Return the water to the boil and boil according to package directions until al dente.  Remove from the heat and drain well, reserving about ½ cup of the cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or just until softened.  Add the chanterelles and thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or just until the mushrooms are tender.  Remove from the heat.
When the pasta has cooked, add the drained pasta to the mushroom mixture, tossing to blend well.  Add the ricotta and parsley and again toss to coat.  Add a bit of the reserved pasta cooking water if necessary to “loosen” the sauce.  Taste and, if necessary, add salt and pepper.
Pour the pasta into a large pasta serving bowl.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and a bit of cracked black pepper and serve.




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Now doesn’t that sound a lot fancier than plain old beef stew or beef in red wine sauce?  Those French sure know how to make a culinary mountain out of a mole hill, don’t they?  However you say it, hunks of beef braised in red wine is one of winter’s most comforting meals.  I have a special method of making my version that helps give it a French-style, deep-dark rich sauce.  I chop a few handfuls of portobello or cremini mushrooms and add them to the braising liquid.  This adds an intense depth of flavor, but it also makes for a sauce with lots of little bits in it so before I add the whole or halved or quartered mushrooms and pearl onions, I strain the sauce so it is perfectly smooth.  We don’t have a photo for the finished dish ‘cause it is just too hard to make it look pretty – a photo of dark sauce and meat just doesn’t look very tasty to me. But, since I love my mushrooms they get a photo all their own.  If you have any interest in the “real” boeuf bourguignon, Julia Child and Simone Beck gave us the real deal in 1961 when it appeared in Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  If you don’t own the book, buy it – no cook should be without it.
The following recipe should feed 6 hungry people.

2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into large cubes
About ½ cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
¼ pound piece bacon, slab bacon, guanciale, or other smoky cured pork product
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
½ pound cremini or portobello mushrooms
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
3 cups dry red wine
3 cups beef stock or nonfat, low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 sachet (parsley sprigs, 2 bay leaves, 2 thyme sprigs or ½ teaspoon dried thyme tied in a
cheesecloth bag)
1 pound whole small mushrooms or halved or quartered larger ones
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
About ½ pound frozen pearl onions, thawed and well-drained
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Place the meat in a large bowl and sprinkle with flour and salt and pepper.  Toss to coat well.  Set aside.
If necessary, trim and discard the rind from the bacon and cut into cubes.  Place the cubes in a Dutch oven over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until most of the fat has been rendered out and the cubes are just beginning to be crunchy.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a double layer of paper towel to drain.
Shake the excess flour off of the meat and then place the meat into the hot bacon fat.  Sear, turning frequently, until all sides are nicely browned.  You will have to do this in batches.  As browned, transfer to a plate.
Add the chopped onion and mushrooms along with the garlic to the hot pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms exude their liquid and the onions begin to color.  Drain off excess fat.
Add the wine, raise the heat, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or just until the alcohol begins to burn off.  Add the stock and tomato paste along with the sachet, stirring to blend.  Season with salt and pepper.  Return the meat to the pan, cover, and bring to a simmer.  Lower the heat and cook at a bare simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is just tender.
Remove the pan from the heat and, using tongs, transfer the meat to a plate.  Strain the braising liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.  Wipe out the Dutch oven and return the strained liquid to it, along with the meat.
Add the whole or halved mushrooms and return to medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked and the meat is very tender.
During this last 30 minutes of braising, place the butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  When very hot, add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the onions are golden.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a double layer of paper towel to drain off excess fat.
Spoon the pearl onions into the braising liquid.  Taste and, if necessary, season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the stew into a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the reserved bacon bits and parsley.  Serve alone with lots of crusty bread to sop up the gravy or with noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.



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We first tried shishito peppers at the Union Square Farmers Market about 2 summers ago.  We loved them – mainly because eating them is such an adventure.  You get one really hot one every so often while the remainder is usually slightly sweet with a lovely hint of acid.  The hot one is always a surprise.  They are often just barely fried in a little extra virgin olive oil and served with a slice of lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt.

On a shopping trip to Whole Foods the other day I picked up a good amount to use as a first course for a not-too-fancy dinner party at home.  I combined them with some I’ve-forgotten-what-they-were mushrooms (they were golden and quite tasty) and instead of sautéing in olive oil, I used sesame oil, some sesame seeds, and a touch of soy sauce to finish.  It was a tasty combo that was a big hit with our guests – so much so that the leftovers were requested for a “take home” reminder of a great time at the table.

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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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Sometimes I purchase foods just because I like the way they look and sometimes just ‘cause I like their name and sometimes just because I know Steve will want to photograph them and then there are those more frequent times that I buy something simply because it is exactly what I want to eat at that moment.  The other day it was a little bit of all 4 that led me to buy a few little clumps of hon-shimeji mushrooms at Eataly (eatalayny.com).  They were charming to look at, had a not-easy-to-roll-off-the-tongue name, Steve was chompin’ at the bit to photograph them, and I knew that they would be the prefect addition to a cup of miso soup.  Now, you can share the experience with us.

Miso Mushroom Soup

1 cup dried mushrooms

1 box button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped

1 cup diced carrot

1 cup diced onion

½ cup diced turnip or rutabaga

About ¼ cup white miso

Soy sauce to taste

Couple of clusters of hon-shimeji (or other small, tender) mushrooms

Place the dried mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl.  Cover with boiling water and allow to rehydrate for about 30 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, lift the mushrooms from the soaking liquid and combine them with the button mushrooms, carrot, onion, and turnip in a large pot.  Add 2 quarts of cold water and place over high heat.

Carefully strain the mushroom soaking liquid through a coffee filter to catch any grit and debris; then, add the soaking liquid to the pot.

Bring the broth mixture to a boil; then, lower the heat and cook at a low simmer for about 45 minutes or until the liquid is well-seasoned.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large clean saucepan, discarding the solids.

Place over medium heat and bring to a bare simmer.  Stir in half of the miso. Taste and continue adding miso until the broth is a finely balanced mix of mushroom and miso.  If necessary, season with a hit of soy sauce.

Cut a good part of the stem from the hon-shimeji mushrooms.  Place an equal portion of the hon-shimeji into each of 6 to 8 soup bowls (I use beautiful hand-made Japanese tea bowls crafted by a friend).  Fill with the broth and serve piping hot.

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