GC #31 – Mushrooms

In the mid-Atlantic we’ve had rain, rain and more rain.  My CSA farmer Bret Goshall cheerfully says, “while rain taketh away tomatoes, it bringeth wild mushrooms,” which my CSA has had in abundance for the last thee weeks.  Bret has …

Porcini, which I broil or sauté, Honey mushrooms (Armillariella tabescens), a close relative of the shiitake, more woodsy in flavor and softer texture.  Excellent sautéed in pastas and in omelets.  Lactarious species, a bigger version of the shiitake mushroom, but a little sweeter.

For me the surprise was Black Chanterelles, which I had never seen or eaten before.  They have an intense, nutty flavor almost like truffles.  Brett says they are sometimes called “poor man’s truffles” although at $8.00 a pint they are not cheap.  But what a treat!  I confess I crewed up the first time I cooked them, and didn’t get all the sand out.  I was devastated because the flavor was fantastic.  The it occurred to me, cook them briefly for a few more minutes in chicken broth, and the sand will sink to the bottom.  It worked like a charm.

The other mushrooms I made into an intense wild mushroom soup, adopting a recipe from Michael Guerard’s Cuisine Minceur.  This recipe works with almost any combination of wild mushrooms.

Ingredients for Wild Mushroom Soup

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced or thinly sliced
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced (you can substitute a second onion)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 cups of wild mushrooms, chopped
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • Fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation of Wild Mushroom Soup

  • Sautee the onions, leeks and garlic in olive oil until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the wild mushrooms and sauté until they loose their liquid.
  • Add chicken stock and two sprigs of fresh sage.
  • Bring to boil and simmer for about 40 minutes
  • Puree the soup and garnish with fresh strips of sage.

Cherry Tomatoes are still available in my CSA, and they have become a seasonal stable for a fantastic baked egg.  Baked eggs were a breakfast stable of my mother.  She would cook the egg with a dollop of butter, a little heavy cream and a tablespoon of capers.  Delicious.  We migrated to yogurt instead of cream, to cut down on fat and that worked fine.  But now I simply use a little butter, an egg, a few cherry tomatoes cut in quarters and a handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients for Baked Eggs and Cherry Tomatoes

  • ¼ teaspoon butter
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Preparation of Baked Eggs and Cherry Tomatoes

  • Put a ramekin with ¼ teaspoon of butter in the over and turn of at 320 degrees.
  • When the over is heated, take out the ramekin.  Add the egg, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese
  • Return to the oven and bake for 12 minutes for a runny yoke or 14 for a firm yolk.
It’s the end of the peaches as well, and if your tired of making summer fruit pies, here’s a simple alternative, fruit crisp.
Ingredients for Peach Crisp
  • 6 cups peaches
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup crushed pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon\
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Salt

Peach Crisp Preparation
1. Toss peaches with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch; spread in a greased 8-or-9-inch pan.2. Combine brown sugar, butter, rolled oats, flour, pine nuts, cinnamon, a dash of salt (and almond extract if you like) in a food processor; pulse a few times.
3. Crumble over fruit and bake at 375 for 40 to 45 minutes.

About Christopher Koch

Christopher Koch is a journalist and filmmaker who is now teaching at Montgomery Community College
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