No, the above title is not referring to the latest rock band, or a new super-hero movie, or God forbid, a reference to athlete’s foot. What we’re talking about here is one of our most beloved, multi-use & exotic foods – MUSHROOMS! Let’s get acquainted…
A mushroom is the fruiting body of a fleshy fungus this is composed of small, threadlike fibers called hyphae. A larger grouping of these hyphae is called a mycelium and composes the network we can see when we remove earth to discover the fungi beneath its surface. Somewhere along this network of filaments, a mushroom pushes up through the surface of the earth (or a commercial growing medium that has been infused with mushroom spores) and becomes recognizable as a mushroom. Unlike most plants, mushrooms require no sunlight to grow and therefore produce no chlorophyll. Their nutrients come from the plants and matter upon which they feed.
Mushrooms, simply prepared, are delicious on their own. Depending on the variety of mushroom, their flavor notes run the gamut of earthy, nutty, buttery, peppery, and in some cases, bitter. Here at 12St Catering we take this humble ingredient and elevate its potential and flavor to extreme heights. There are methods and techniques we employ to accomplish this and we would like to share some of them with you!
BUTTER: More than any other single ingredient, butter brings out the natural flavor of mushrooms.
SALT/SOY SAUCE: Try using a combination of salt AND soy sauce when seasoning mushrooms. A splash of soy sauce does wonders, intensifying the natural flavor of mushrooms. Experiment with this combination. A little soy goes a long way.
ONIONS & GARLIC: Used to enhance the overall flavor of mushrooms. Use sparingly. Overuse of these two can mask delicate mushroom flavor. Chives, green onions & shallots are preferable. Generally, the more robust the mushroom flavor, the safer it is to use onions.
LEMON: Use of lemon juice is twofold – the acid tends to maintain color of fresh mushrooms while cooking, and cuts into the heavy, earthy, buttery characteristics of mushrooms.
SPICES & HERBS: Most herbs pair well with mushrooms; in particular, savory, thyme, marjoram and sage. Caraway & fennel seed are perfect spices for certain varieties of mushrooms. EXPERIMENT!
NUTS: Walnuts and pine nut are great natural flavor and textural companions to mushrooms.
WINE: Being acidic, wine has a tendency to counteract rather than support the flavor of mushrooms. However, dry sherry, Madeira & Marsala can create the perfect balance in mushroom dishes with their nuttiness and slight sweet notes.
The following are some of our most popular mushroom dishes at 12 Street Catering:
Brie & Wild Mushroom Fondue
Savory Mushroom & Leek Bread Pudding
Morel Mushroom & Asparagus Pizza with Fontina & Thyme
Wild Mushroom Bruschetta with Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
Sherried Mushroom Bisque with Fennel & Truffle Crème Fraiche
Mushroom Quesadillas with Grilled Poblano Peppers & Chihuahua Cheese
SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH MUSHROOMS & ONIONS
Eggs are a great companion for fresh mushrooms of any type. We offer this simple recipe for an ethereal and delicious addition to breakfast or brunch; or even a light dinner!
1/3 Cup chopped onions
2 Tbs. butter
1 Cup chopped mushrooms – (your choice)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. sugar
¼ tsp. soy sauce
2 Tbs. Heavy cream (optional)
Saute onions in the butter until transparent. Add the mushrooms and remaining ingredients (except the eggs & cream) and cook until most of the moisture had evaporated. Beat the eggs and cream lightly and add to the sautéed mixture. Continue stirring until the eggs are not quite completely cooked, and remove from heat. (The heat from the pan will finish cooking the eggs while you continue to stir). Serve with croissants or toast points for breakfast, (or with a green salad & crusty baguette for dinner). You are now a certified ‘Mycophile’ (one who loves mushrooms)!