Mushrooms are the meaty relatives of the plant world, and you won't miss the animal protein in these delicious mushroom recipes, whether its crispy fried Oyster Mushroom Wings in termpura batter, my elegant Mushroom and Potato Bisque and creamy Mushroom Pate, a classic mushroom risotto or a mushroom, sage, rosemary pesto to toss with pasta. Enjoy!
OYSTER MUSHROOM WINGS
At House of Boateng, chef Castro Boateng serves crispy tempura-battered Foragers Galley Blue Pearl oyster mushrooms as a starter with his HOB mango hot sauce, jerk and harissa aioli (available at HOB Fine Foods in Langford or from their online shop). Here’s a recipe that approximates his vegetarian appetizer.
1 pound large oyster mushrooms
½ cup cake flour, plus extra for dusting (or well sifted all-purpose flour)
1/4 teaspoon shichimi togarashi, Japanese 7-spice chili pepper, plus more for garnish
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg, beaten
½ cup chilled sparkling water (add ice to insure it’s very cold)
Canola or peanut oil for deep frying
Hot sauces and spicy aioli for dipping
Trim off any growing medium from the base of the oyster mushrooms and separate into individual mushrooms or small clusters, leaving the stems on.
Place mushrooms in a bag and shake with a few tablespoons of flour, chili pepper and salt, just to coat them lightly.
Combine dry ingredients for batter, then whisk in the egg and sparkling water, using chopsticks, just to barely combine. Do not over mix – it’s important to leave the batter a bit lumpy. Refrigerate batter while you heat the oil.
Heat 2-3 inches of oil in a deep pan, wok or deep fryer, to 340-350 F.
Dip a mushroom in the batter to coat completely, letting any excess drain off. Using tongs, gently lower mushrooms, one at a time, into the oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry the mushrooms until they are golden and crisp, flipping once to brown all sides, about 5 minutes in total. Use a slotted spoon to lift mushrooms out of the oil and drain on paper towel, then place on a rack in a 200 F oven to keep warm while you fry the remaining mushrooms.
Serve with hot sauce or chili mayo (aioli) for dipping.
This spreadable vegetarian pâté features a mixture of wild and cultivated mushrooms. For a gluten-free option, replace breadcrumbs with toasted ground walnuts or cashews.
2 cups minced onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound mixed mushrooms (portobello, shiitake, oyster, white and/or brown), minced
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
½ cup white wine
3 fresh bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ pound butter
1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (or other hot sauce to taste)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Generous pinch freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon organic baking powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Use the food processor to mince the onions and garlic. In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the minced onion/garlic mixture for 10 minutes until softened and starting to brown.
If using portobellos, use a teaspoon to scrape out most of the dark gills. Chop the mushrooms into large chunks and add to the food processor, pulsing to finely chop.
Add mushrooms to the sautéed onions and cook together over low heat for 15 minutes.
Combine the breadcrumbs and wine.
Add the bay leaves, thyme, butter and breadcrumb mixture to the mushrooms and stir to combine well. Continue to cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is quite dry. Remove from heat, mix in the sriracha, soy sauce, nutmeg and baking powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon mushroom pate into individual small jars or bowls, cover and refrigerate. Spread on crackers or baguette to serve. Keep refrigerated or freeze for storage.
Makes about 3 cups.
MUSHROOM AND POTATO BISQUE
With exotic mushrooms, a little potato for body, and just a touch of fresh cream, this mushroom soup is worlds away from the supermarket staple, and healthier, too. For a fancy presentation, sauté some extra chopped mushrooms with garlic in butter and spoon over each portion to garnish.
From The Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook by Cinda Chavich (Touchwood Editions).
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small onion or large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and grated
1 cup finely chopped wild and cultivated mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, lion’s mane, morel, cèpe, etc.)
4 cups homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat, and sauté the onion and garlic until softened. Add the potatoes and mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms begin to give up their moisture, about 5 minutes.
Add the stock, bay leaf, thyme, and tomato paste, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer the soup for 30 minutes. The potatoes should break down and thicken the soup.
Stir in the cream and heat through. For a silky smooth bisque, purée half or all of the soup in a blender (or use an immersion hand blender). Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.
The new Island Eats cookbook by Joanne Sasvari and Dawn Postnikoff features recipes from chefs across the island, along with this one from Chef Maartyn Hoogeveen of Unsworth restaurant. Hoogeveen uses wild, island-foraged chanterelles but says they can be replaced with other flavourful varieties like oyster or morel mushrooms.
1/2 cup (1 stick) + 2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound chanterelle (or other mushrooms), cleaned
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups mushroom stock or chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup arborio rice
¼ cup Unsworth 2018 Allegro white wine (or other crisp white wine)
½ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup crumbled chevre (preferably from Haltwhistle Cheese Co.)
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large frying pan over medium heat and sauté mushrooms 4-5 minutes, until softened. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Bring stock to a boil in a small saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and cook onion for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook another few seconds — don’t let the onion brown. Stir in the rice and mix to coat with oil. Stir in wine and cook until it is reduced by three quarters, then add a ladle of hot stock, stirring frequently until liquid is nearly all absorbed. Continue this process until the rice is al dente, creamy and moist, using all or most of the stock and cooking for about 25 minutes in total.
Remove pan from heat. Cube remaining ½ cup of butter and quickly stir into risotto, along with Parmesan and chevre. Add tarragon and half the cooked mushrooms and combine.
Divide the risotto between four bowls, top with remaining mushrooms and sliced almonds. Serves 4.
My basic risotto recipe is a blank slate for almost any addition — think asparagus, winter squash, crumbled sausage — but mushrooms are a natural fit with this creamy Italian dish. Risotto is a classic comfort food, and something you can make when there’s nothing in the cupboard but some rice, chicken broth and a heel of Parmesan in the fridge, and, with exotic mushrooms, it’s a fine feast. It’s fast food, too — cooked in 20 minutes flat. Just remember to serve it immediately. Risotto waits for no one.
4 cups broth (vegetable or chicken, homemade if possible)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter 1 cup minced yellow onion
2 big cloves garlic, minced 2 cups fresh (and/or dry and rehydrated), sliced mushrooms (oyster, lion’s mane, porcini, morel, chanterelle, shiitake)
1 cup risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano) 1⁄4cup white wine 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra to garnish
Bring the broth to a boil in a saucepan over high heat, then reduce the heat to low to keep the broth hot.
Meanwhile, in a wide, non-stick sauté pan, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms give up their liquid and begin to brown.
Stir in the rice and cook for about a minute, until the rice is coated and shiny. Then add the wine, stirring until it is completely absorbed.
Now begin adding the hot broth, about 1⁄2 cup at a time. Stir the risotto with a wooden spoon until the broth is absorbed, and continue adding broth, 1⁄2 cup at a time and stirring frequently, until the broth is used up and the rice is cooked al dente (toothsome and tender, but not mushy). The entire cooking process will take 20 to 25 minutes.
Stir in the Parmesan cheese and another 2 tablespoons of broth, then cover the pan and let the risotto rest for 2 minutes. Serve in wide, shallow bowls, sprinkled with additional grated cheese. Serves 4.
Chef and author Bill Jones is the local expert on mushrooms and offers mushroom dinners and foraging workshops at his Deerholme Farm in the Cowichan Valley. Here’s a recipe from The Deerholme Farm Foraging Book for a pesto to toss with pasta, slather on toasts or pizza. Freezes well.
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 cup chopped onions
8 cups wild or cultivated mushrooms (can be a blend)
2 tablespoons each: chopped garlic, chopped fresh sage, chopped fresh parsley, chopped fresh rosemary
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Heat grapeseed oil over high heat. When oil is very hot, add the onions and saute until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms to the hot pan and season with salt and pepper. The mushrooms should immediately release moisture. Add the garlic, sage, parsley and rosemary, and saute until all of the moisture is evaporated and the mushrooms begin to stick to the pan. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
Place the mushrooms into a food processor and pulse to chop, then puree to a paste, slowly adding the olive oil in a steady stream. You should have a smooth paste. Season to taste with salt and hot sauce. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze (up to 3 months. Makes about 2 cups.
Cinda Chavich photos