Sunday 13 July 2008

Mushroom fashion shoot


Phwoar. Check out those mushrooms. How I hated them as a child; how I love them now. Last weekend Mum gave me a call - at my recommendation she'd gone to Damian Pike's gourmet mushroom stall at the Prahran Market and one of the nice young men had helped her select a cornucopia of mushrooms. Would I like to come over for a lunch she was preparing for Nonna and Nonno of wild mushroom ragu on wet polenta?


Serving as Mum's lovely assistant, I sliced up the mushrooms. Here they are in all their glory (clockwise from bottom left): king oyster mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, (rehydrated) porcini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and Swiss brown mushrooms.

King Oyster Mushrooms

The king oysters were the only ones we pre-prepared separately - I sliced them thinly then pan fried them in a small amount of butter. I just ADORE the taste of them, so much so that I went back to the gourmet mushroom guy yesterday and bought a few more. Any suggestions as to what I should do with them?

The recipe for the wild mushroom ragu was a Karen Martini one taken from an old Sunday Life magazine clipping. We used different mushrooms, and Mum added the mascarpone into the polenta rather than serving it on top. Despite my Northern Italian heritage, I can normally take or leave polenta... but this dish was MAGNIFICO, the best meal I've had in weeks!

Wild mushroom ragu on wet polenta


80mL extra version olive oil
100g butter
4 eschalots, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
10g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water, drained and chopped
250g field mushrooms, chopped
50g enoki mushrooms
250g cepe mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
250g pine mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
100mL white wine
300mL chicken stock (or porcini stock if you want your dish to be vegetarian)
1 cup instant polenta
150g grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
100g mascarpone

Heat the EVOO and half the butter in a large pan over high heat. Add eschalots and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Add bay leaf and thyme and cook for 5 minutes. Add porcini, field, enoki, cepe and pine mushrooms, then add wine and stir. Add stock and simmer for ten minutes.
Heat 750mL water in a large saucepan over high heat until boiling. Sprinkle in polenta, whisking constantly for 6-8 minutes or until polenta is thick and cooked. Add remaining butter and parmesan and season. To serve, spoon polenta into bowls and make a well in each. Spoon mushrooms into well and add a dollop of mascarpone. Pass around extra parmesan separately.

West Australian prosciutto and marinated olivesMarinated fetta

The polenta dish was preceded by antipasti of West Australian prosciutto (SO GOOD - my Nonno couldn't believe it wasn't Italian!) and olives, and marinated fetta. After the polenta we had a simple salad of radicchio and lettuce, and a variety of formaggi.


No meal with my nonni would be complete without these extra courses! :)

Nonno e Nonna


Thermomixer said...

Great stuff. Love the look of that polenta with luscious mushies.

With the King Oysters - just fry them with sosme EVOO and butter, a little garlic, thyme, salt & black pepper and serve them on buttered hot toasted sour dough bread. Or even just leave out the bread. Yummy.

Where do you buy your Graindorge Pont L'Eveque? Was that at Prahran too? Was it nice and flavoursome? It looks fairly firm but sure to be tasty.

Nonni sure look contenti.

Thermomixer said...

Sorry, just noticed that I still can't spell & that you have the sprigs of thyme there - so enjoy your mushies.

Simon said...

Oooo I'm so in love with mushrooms this year ... not sure why but can't complain they're so delicious!

Just a random side note - the olive oil / balsamic and bread thing who does that belong to culturally? And is there a name or tradition behind it? (researching for a bread and soup idea ... this is being tacked onto the front to highlight good bread)

Simon said...

Oh just got this in the inbox!

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Save $25 on entry to Taste of Melbourne with our two for one ticket special.

To take advantage of this offer, simply call Ticketmaster on 136 100 or book online click here and quote the following code when booking tickets: RES08 under Promotions and Special Offers.

This offer is valid for Entry Only tickets.

Be quick, this offer is only valid until Monday 21st July.

More details:

Johanna GGG said...

the term 'magic mushrooms' comees to mind - these look amazing! have never had them with soft polenta but it looks like an amazing way to eat mushrooms

claire said...

Hi Thermomixer, thanks for the comments! As you can see from my second mushroom post I ended up serving the KOMs over pasta, but I agree that they'd be brilliant on toast (and I have fresh thyme in my herb garden!). In answer to your question we bought the Pont L'Eveque from one of the Prahran Market delis that faces out of the fruit and veg section. To be perfectly honest it tasted slightly over the hill, if anything.

Hi Simon, I prefer to take a postmodern view and believe that the olive oil / balsamic vinegar with bread thing doesn't "belong" to anybody! From a historical perspective I'm not sure where it first originated, but many cuisines have variations on it.
Yeah I got that Taste of Melbourne ticket offer but dunno whether I'll bother... I went along to the Good Food & Wine Show and it was crap!

Hi Johanna, yes it is an amazing way to have them - especially if you mix in a naughty dollop of mascarpone! :)

Simon said...

Yes I agree the "Good" Food and Wine Show is a bit of a sell-out ... just a room packed full of whoever could afford to show up ... Indomie Mee-Goreng? C'mon the line has to be drawn somewhere surely?!

I did walk away with 3 bottles of tequila and got to taste a $600/bottle super anejo tequila too so it wasn't a total waste.

Cindy said...

Ooooooh yum. What a mushroom orgy! I'm not a normally a massive polenta fan either but your shot of this dish is a truly mouth-watering one.

Anonymous said...

I think I am in mushroom heaven! I need an excuse to make this right now!!

BigLaughingJim said...

Have you heard that there is finally a mushroom farm in Melbourne that is growing King Oysters?
I haven't seen them in shops but I did see their label on some mushrooms the other day... the guy I bought them from said he got them at the Wholesale market in docklands. ISn't that the market you have to own a fruit and veg shop to get in? anyone else heard about Southern Cross Specialty Mushrooms?