I am a late-in-life lover of mushrooms, and I love them a great deal now. On my recent visit to Spiceman’s F.M. 1410, I acquired a very impressive little bag of fungi. And when I sat to daydream a bit about all of the things I could do with them I couldn’t shake the one strong impulse that I had before I even walked into Spiceman’s, which was to sauté them, drown them in cream, and pour them onto a crusty piece of toast made from my homemade bread.
My talks with Tom Spicer and Cole, at the shop, taught me several things that I did not know before. One, when you cook mushrooms, do so over very high heat and cook them fast. A really good sear over high heat brings out intoxicating flavors and protects the nutrients in the mushrooms. Two, mushrooms are special organisms, with nutritive and healing powers that have been harnessed in Chinese medicine for millennia and not yet fully explored in the West. They are also rich in antioxidants and have anti-viral and cancer inhibiting properties. And, many widely available mushrooms are enhanced with UV light to dramatically increase the levels of Vitamin D, a vitamin of which 40% of Americans do not get enough. They are, in an admittedly overused word, a super-food. Which is all well and good, but I like them because they taste phenomenal. When cooked, they are meaty and dense. And, served like this with the cream and great bread they make a very satisfying meal.
I have made this twice recently. The first time with Spicer’s mushroom assortment, which included Oyster, Maitake, brown Crab, Shimeji, and early Morels (and perhaps others, as well…mycology is not my native language, so to speak). I also added a few regular grocery store mushrooms to the mix. The second time I used Portobello, Oyster and reconstituted dried Morels that I picked up at the White Rock Local Market from Elizabeth Lucik of Kitchen Pride Mushrooms . Use what you can find. While I highly recommend finding some exotic cultivated mushrooms like the ones Spicer offers, you will do just fine in your produce aisle, as well.
a big handful of coarsely chopped mushrooms (the volume reduces dramatically when cooked)
a big pat of butter
1 clove garlic, minced
½ of a shallot, minced
¼ to a ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
salt & pepper
one slice of thick crusty white bread
In a heavy skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté over high heat for about one minute. Add all the mushrooms and continue to sauté, stirring and tossing the mushrooms constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes or until they are nicely darkened and juicy in appearance. Lower the heat under the skillet and add the cream, which will bubble furiously for a few moments. Continue to stir until the sauce is thickened to your liking. Remove from the heat.
Pour the mushrooms and cream over the toasted bread and season with fresh thyme, salt and pepper.
The recipe I use for my bread is No-Knead Refrigerator White Bread
If you are using reconstituted morels, use very little water to soak them, and add that precious liquid back in with the cream.
Visit the White Rock Local Market website for more information about dates, times and vendors. Or, visit the post I wrote last year about the White Rock Local Market. It is a fun market, especially when all of the artists are there.
Also, recently I wrote a post about Spiceman’s F.M. 1410 if you would like more information about that unique and interesting Dallas culinary jewel.
I love these pans. I don’t mean the brand, I mean the 3 specific pans that I have in my house. They were my father-in-law, Ford’s, pans. He died far too young in 1997 when Pitts and I were still engaged. We mostly use them for omelettes, because these are the pans he used to teach my husband how to make omelettes many years ago. And they are the pans my husband used to teach me how to make great omelettes. But every once in a while I’m making something and they call to me from their hiding place amongst the other “rarely used but I can’t let go” kitchen items. For some reason, I had to use them to make this. I just had to. Yet another reason that I am never alone in my kitchen when I cook.