It’s mushroom season.
I kinow this because I see cars tucked into little bits of woods on the side of the road.
I don’t gather mushrooms myself.
There are three general types of mushrooms: edible, toxic, and magic or Psilocyban (known to have psychedelic properties).
Identifying which is which is the problem. It’s rather important to get it right.
Any given mushroom can take on many different characteristics in it’s short life-span; resembling an edible variety in it’s youth and a toxic variety at maturity.
In most areas where mushrooming is popular one can find help to identify them.
In Andorra, all of the Pharmacists were required to be experts and one could take their haul to the local Pharmacy to have it sorted.
Still, there were usually one or two deaths every year of people who ‘knew their mushrooms’.
I prefer to buy mushrooms that have been professionally vetted.
Provided they’re not in a can.
Whoever thought putting mushrooms in a can was a good idea ought to be beaten severely about the head and shoulders with a soggy pizza.
Why would anyone want to take this perfectly lovely fungus and turn it into a gray, shiny, rubber parody of it’s glorious self?
I have picked canned mushrooms off of pizzas and out of sauces for years.
But I digress….
This time of year the markets are chock-a-block with all sorts of interesting field and forest mushrooms.
Some can be eaten raw; some need to be cooked…. And the seller is happy to offer tips on the best uses.
These are some of my favorite uses:
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Mushroom Timbales and the French Returns department…
Omelet with Mushrooms and Parsley (and a brief bit on cursing)
Butternut Squash with Forest Mushrooms and Sage Cream
And one new one – with some of my favorite foods.
The pungent goat cheese, salty ham, sweet shallots and woodsy mushrooms combine to taste like autumn. The chevre for this should be a log that is aged. That means it will have a thin, edible rind and can be sliced easily. You can use a soft goat cheese, it will just melt faster and be a bit harder to work with.
2 slices chevre (goat cheese) about 1/2″ (1.25cm) thick or other strong cheese, 2 – 3oz (60 – 90gr)
2 slices Prosciutto, (1.5oz, 45gr) or other dry-cured ham, Bayonne, Serrano
2 slices bread – country or whole grain is best
2 tbs whole grain mustard
2 medium shallots
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbs water
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sage leaves
4oz (125gr) wild mushrooms, or any mushrooms
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs truffle oil – or other nice olive oil – optional, don’t bother with corn or canola, it’s strictly for flavor
Shallots: Slice shallots about 1/4″ (.5cm) thick. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat and add shallots. Sauté 10 minutes, until starting to brown. Add water (it helps speed things up and prevent burning), stir well and let continue to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned. Turn heat to low if cooking to hard. Add brown sugar, vinegar, sage, and cook, stirring for 2 more minutes. Remove to a plate.
Mushrooms: Clean and thickly slice the mushrooms. Heat oil and Worcestershire sauce in the same skillet. Add mushrooms, and stir well to coat. Sauté over medium heat until mushrooms are nicely browned, 10 – 12 minutes, depending on type and size. When done add the caramelized shallots and stir well to combine. Keep warm.
Slice Prosciutto into strips.
Toast the bread, then cut 1 round from each slice, as big as you can (use a bowl as a guide if needed)
To assemble: Preheat broiler. Put bread rounds on a baking sheet. Divide mustard and spread on the bread. Arrange the Prosciutto on top of the bread. Place one slice of cheese on top of the Prosciutto. Broil just until cheese starts to melt, 45 – 60 seconds. Remove and put on plates. Spoon the mushrooms around the toasts, drizzle with oil if using, and serve.
In any dish featuring mushrooms, try to use a variety for the most flavor.