What’s cooking today: Mushrooms on toast
It’s amazing how many people, even some professional chefs, just don’t get the basic secret to cooking a mushroom: to cook it until it releases its juices and then cook them away.
It’s pretty disappointing when you order the farmhouse, “big” or “the works” breakfast in restaurants across the country and the mushrooms on the plate are either plain, with no seasoning whatsoever, or have a dull, warmed-up look and feel to them. Some “chefs” even serve mushrooms they’ve drained from a tin and heated; I have no respect for that chef.
Mushrooms contain so much water that you need to get rid of it by cooking them until they release all their water, and then cook that liquid away. The flavour changes and intensifies massively.
As for flavourings, they take brilliantly to lemon, garlic, most herbs, and some spices. I love thyme with mushrooms, usually include garlic, and I have loved lemon with mushrooms since I first cooked them as a teenager. But don’t overdo the lemon component. For this recipe, for instance, I used the juice of only a quarter of a lemon. Even a tablespoon more would have been too sharp.
They take on cream beautifully too, so I finished this simple but delicious breakfast dish with half a carton of it.
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
300 g portobellini (or button) mushrooms, quartered
4 sprigs thyme
Juice of ¼ lemon
125 ml cream
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp clarified butter * See TGIFood tip below
Melt three tablespoons of clarified butter in a suitable heavy pot. Chop the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until pale golden.
Quarter the mushrooms and add them and the thyme. Add them t0 the onions. Cook on a high heat while stirring until they release their juices. Continue cooking and stirring while that liquid cooks away. Squeeze in the lemon juice (I do it through a fine sieve to catch the pips), season with salt and black pepper and simmer for three more minutes.
Stir in the cream and simmer gently for another two or three minutes. Serve on toast.
Here’s a repeat of my tip for clarified butter…
TGIFood tip: Buy a plastic tub (not a brick in foil or paper) of butter and clarify it. Melt it in a pot on a very low heat until the solids separate from the fat (the curds from the whey). Leave it to stand off the heat for five minutes, then skim off the foam that rises to the top. Pour the liquid back into the tub, leaving the solids (you will see a residue of it near the bottom) in the pot, to be discarded. Store it in the fridge. Whenever you make a curry, use it, but call it ghee; it’s the same thing. DM/TGIFood
To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected]
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