Friday, January 26, 2007

M is for...

M is for Mushroom.

Who: The Mushroom
What: A fungus growing above ground, classified as a vegetable.
When: The early Greeks and Romans were the first cultivators of the mushroom, but Egyptian hieroglyphics of mushrooms have been dated back more than 4000 years.
Where: Mushrooms can be grown pretty much anywhere, as common mushrooms are not grown outdoors. Some types of mushrooms can be ready for harvest in as little as 3 weeks.
Why: Mushrooms are low in calories and fat free. They are a good source of copper, selenium, and potassium.

Did you know? There are thousands and thousands of types of mushrooms; most of them are not edible.
And that? A mycologist is a botanist that studies fungi.

Mushrooms are available for purchase fresh, dried, canned and frozen. Some of the more common types are button, portabella, shitake, enoki, morel, and chanterelle.

Store mushrooms preferably in a paper bag in the refrigerator. If you purchase mushrooms wrapped in plastic, remove the plastic before storing. To clean the mushrooms, wipe them with a damp towel or rinse briefly under the tap.

Grilled Portabella Sandwich
Normally I make this with whole caps, however this day the store only had pre-sliced shrooms.

2 sandwiches

2 buns
2 portabella mushrooms, stems and gills removed
1 clove minced garlic
3 tb mayonnaise
1 tb minced fresh basil
salt and pepper
2 tb oil
red onion and tomato slices

Mix together the garlic, mayonnaise, basil and a bit of salt and pepper. Split the buns and spread the mayonnaise on all cut sides of the 2 buns. Place the tomato and onion slices on the top half of the buns.
Brush the mushrooms with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms on a bbq or in a grill pan until the mushrooms are softened with nice grill marks on both sides. Top the buns with the mushrooms and serve right away.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Italian Dressing
When I was little, for special occasions my mom would serve bbq steak, baked potatos with sour cream and these mushrooms. To me, this was the height of a classy dinner.

Slice up some button mushrooms (at least a good handful per person). Melt some butter over medium high heat and saute the mushrooms for 10 or 15 minutes. When the mushrooms are soft and golden, pour in some Italian dressing. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the dressing has reduced and thickened. Grind in some pepper and serve.

Mushroom Stroganoff
I adapted this slightly from Feast by Nigella Lawson as not all of the mushrooms she used are available to me. This is a totally delicious twist on Beef Stroganoff.

4 servings

1/2 red onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tb oil
250 g button mushrooms
250 g portabella mushrooms
50 g butter
4 tb white wine (or water)
2 tsp paprika
150 ml sour cream

Finely chop the onion and garlic in a food processor. Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Slice the button mushrooms, and remove the stem and gills from the portabella and slice. Add the butter and when it has melted add the mushrooms. Stir to coat the mushrooms with the buttery onions. Place a lid on the pan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove the lid and season with salt. Add the wine, paprika and some fresh nutmeg. Stir in the sour cream. Simmer gently for another 5 minutes. Stir in some chopped fresh parsley and stir.
Serve over rice.

Previous Alphabet Posts:
A is for Artichoke
B is for Beet
C is for Carrot
D is for Dogs
E is for Egg
F is for Fondue
G is for Garlic
H is for Hamburger
I is for Indian Food
J is for Jamie Oliver
K is for Kaffir Lime Leaves
L is for Lobster


foodiechickie said...

Although they are both Rachael Ray recipes. These are pretty tasty mushroom recipes.

Portobello Mushroom "Fries"

4 large portobello mushroom caps
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, plus 1/4 cup
Steak seasoning blend, such as Montreal Steak Seasoning, or coarse salt and black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded or grated Parmesan

Preheat a grill pan over medium high to high heat.
Scrape the gills off the underside of portobello mushroom caps with a spoon. Brush caps gently with a damp cloth to clean them. Drizzle caps with oil to keep them from sticking to the grill pan and season the caps with steak seasoning or salt and black pepper.

Grill mushrooms 3 or 4 minutes on each side under a loose tin foil tent until just tender. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

Slice grilled caps into 1/2-inch strips. Turn strips in egg, then coat in mixture of parsley, bread crumbs and cheese. Cook "fries" over medium high heat in enough extra-virgin olive oil to coat a nonstick skillet in a thin layer, about 1/4 cup. "Fries" will brown in 2 or 3 minutes on each side.

This one is from memory since I can't find it right now. Will keep looking:

Marinate two portobellos in olive oil, rosemarry and lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Grill. Add mozzerella to the portobello till it gets a bit melty, put in a bun and add red pepper spread on top and enjoy!

breadchick said...

Ok Sara, last week it was Lobster, just about my all time favourite seafood and this week it is Mushrooms!! You are killing me... I think I am going to have to do something over the weekend with both "L" word and the "M" word.

Emmy said...

Yay! I love mushrooms! I really enjoy your alphabet food posts :) The Mushroom Stroganoff is a great idea.

Unknown said...

I LOVE MUSHROOMS! The mushroom stroganoff looks great. May have to try that next week!

Anonymous said...

I did NOT know that a mycologist is someone who studies mushrooms! Huh. I love it when I learn random new facts. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

Sara said...

FC - even though they are RR, they both sound delicious - especially the fries! Thanks for sharing them with me.

Mary - glad you like them!

Emmy - thanks, it was so delicious.

Claire - you'll love it!

Ari - see, food is educational too!

Melting Wok said...

oh yes, there are uncountable varieties of mushrooms, love them all :) I like this post, educating people bout mushrooms out there. I did couple posts so far, one on chinese cloud ear mushroom, and the other one on a belly-button mushroom, thanks for sharing, cheers !:)