Tidewater Kitchen - September 2009

Mastering Mushrooms

by

Pamela Meredith Doyle

Mushrooms used to be an overlooked item in the grocery shopping cart. Even though they are delicious, I didn’t have many ideas on how to use them. I do now!
I finally realized the nutritional aspect and their true potential. While eating an amazing grilled mushroom sandwich at a friend’s house I decided to write an article just on mushrooms and the many different ways you can use them.
When we eat a mushroom we are actually eating the fruit of the fungus. This may not sound very yummy, but it truly does taste good!
Mushrooms are rich in glutamic acid, which is the natural flavoring of monosodium glutamate. They are also high in protein and are a great source of zinc and vitamin B2.
Just before cooking your mushrooms, make sure you clean them with a damp paper towel. Do not hold them under water to clean them, as they act like sponges and will lose their flavor.
When buying mushrooms, except for morels and chanterelles, select smooth, plump and uniformly colored mushrooms that are firm and not slimy and have a sweet earthy smell.

ROASTED CHICKEN with POLENTA and TRUFFLED MUSHROOMS
Serves 6
Mushrooms with truffle oil are paired with polenta and simple roasted chicken in this dish. I love to look for packages of mixed wild mushrooms in the produce section or use a combination of oyster, shiitake, chanterelle and cremini mushrooms.

Chicken:
1 (4 lb.) roasting chicken
1 t. finely chopped fresh thyme
¼ t. salt
¼ t. freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (14 oz.) can fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, divided
Cooking spray
¼ cup white wine
2 t. all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
Mushrooms:
2 t. butter
½ t. salt
¼ t. freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. mixed wild mushrooms, sliced
1 (8 oz.) pkg. sliced mushrooms
2 t. truffle oil
Polenta:
2 cups fat-free milk
¾ cup instant dry polenta
½ cup grated Asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.
Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken under cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Combine thyme, ¼ t. salt, ¼ t. pepper, and garlic; rub over breast and drumsticks under loosened skin. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken.
Combine 6 garlic cloves and 1 cup of broth in a shallow roasting pan. Place chicken on a rack coated with cooking spray; place rack in pan. Insert meat thermometer into the meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone.
Bake at 325° for 2 hours or until thermometer registers 180°. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin. Place chicken on a platter, reserving drippings in pan; cover chicken and keep warm. Add wine to drippings in pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
Place flour in a small saucepan; gradually add remaining broth, stirring with a whisk until blended. Set aside. Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Pour pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into flour mixture in saucepan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Bring mixture to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Keep warm.
To prepare mushrooms, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ½ t. salt, ¼ t. pepper and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until the mushrooms release moisture and darken, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in truffle oil.
To prepare polenta, combine milk, water, ½ t. salt and ¼ t. pepper in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk; reduce heat, and cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese. Serve with chicken, gravy, and mushrooms.

VEAL OR CHICKEN MARSALA
Serves 4
This is one of my mom’s favorite recipes.

4 (4 oz.) veal or chicken cutlets
1½ T. butter
½ t. olive or canola oil

Sauce:
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup Marsala wine
½ T. herbes de Provence
1 cup beef stock
½ T. cornstarch blended with 1 T. water
1 (8 oz.) box baby portabella mushrooms
2 T. butter
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When butter and oil foams, add cutlets. Cook 2 to 4 minutes on each side until browned. Remove cutlets to serving dish.
Add shallots to butter and oil left in pan and stir over medium heat for several seconds. Add wine and herbs. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping cooking juices and bits loose. Boil rapidly to reduce liquid mixture and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens. Sauté mushrooms in butter in a small skillet. Add sautéed mushrooms to sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve sauce over cutlets. Serve with herbed rice and fresh green beans!

PORCINI-CRUSTED BEEF
Serves 8
Be sure to ask the butcher for a center-cut piece of tenderloin.

1½ cups dried porcini mushrooms (about 1½ oz.), divided
1 (3½ lb.) center-cut beef tenderloin
¾ t. salt, divided
¼ t. pepper, divided
2 t. vegetable oil
Cooking spray
1 cup boiling water
2 T. chilled butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400°.
Place ½ cup mushrooms in a blender and process until finely ground.
Trim fat from tenderloin and sprinkle the beef with ground mushrooms, ½ t. salt and ? t. pepper.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef and cook for 1 minute on all sides or until browned.
Place tenderloin on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Insert meat thermometer into thickest portion of the tenderloin. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until meat reaches 145° (medium-rare) to 160° (medium).
Place tenderloin on a platter and cover with foil. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Combine boiling water and remaining cup of mushrooms in a bowl. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
Drain mushrooms and place into a medium saucepan, reserving soaking liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms. Bring reserved soaking liquid to a boil and add chopped mushrooms. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup (approx. 12 minutes). Add ¼ t. salt, ? t. pepper and butter, stirring with a whisk until butter is melted. Serve with the tenderloin.

CAJUN PORTOBELLA MUSHROOM SALAD
Serves 4
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 T. olive oil
2 t. Dijon mustard
2 t. stone-ground mustard
¼ t. coarsely ground pepper
4 (4 oz.) portobella mushroom caps (about 5 inches wide)
1 T. Cajun seasoning for steak
2 t. olive oil
Cooking spray
4 cups mixed field greens
1 large tomato cut in 8 wedges
½ cup thinly sliced red onion, separated into rings
1 (15 oz.) can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large zip-top bag. Add mushrooms to the bag and seal. Marinate for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove mushrooms from bag and reserve marinade.
Sprinkle mushrooms with Cajun seasoning.
Heat 2 t. oil in a large non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until very brown. Cool. Cut mushrooms diagonally into thin slices.
Arrange 4 cups of salad greens on each of 4 plates. Top each with mushrooms slices, 2 tomato wedges and onion rings. Sprinkle each with ¼ cup beans and 1 T. blue cheese. Drizzle the reserved marinade evenly over salads.

SAUTEED MUSHROOMS with GARLIC and PARSLEY
Serves 4
When mushrooms are cooked they release a lot of liquid. Cooking at a high temperature will evaporate the juices, allowing the mushrooms to brown and develop flavor.

1 lb. wild or cultivated mushrooms
2 T. olive oil
¼ t. salt
2 t. minced garlic
1 t. chopped parsley
Coarse sea salt

Trim the ends of cleaned mushrooms and cut caps into bite-sized pieces. Very small mushrooms can be left whole.
Set a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over high heat. When hot add olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and cook over high heat, stirring, until mushrooms stop giving off liquid and start to brown.
Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve on a platter and season with sea salt.

RISOTTO with MUSHROOMS
Serves 7
2 cups hot water
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
4½ cups organic vegetable broth
3 T. butter, divided
½ cup white onion, finely chopped
3 cups cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped (about 8 oz.)
1½ cups shiitake mushrooms (about 3½ oz.)
1¾ cups Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
¾ t. fresh sage, chopped
½ t. salt
¼ t. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 2 oz.)

Combine hot water and porcini mushrooms in a bowl. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain mushrooms in a colander over a bowl, reserving the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms.
Bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
Melt 2 T. butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan and sauté for 5 minutes. Add porcini, cremini and shiitake mushrooms and cook for 8 minutes or until tender. Add the rice and sauté for 1 more minute. Stir in sage, salt and pepper. Stir in 1 cup of the broth mixture and cook for 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.
Add the remaining broth mixture, a half cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next. This process will take about 25 minutes total.
Remove from heat and add the remaining 1 T. of butter and the cheese, stirring until the cheese melts.

MUSHROOM BISQUE with a PASTRY TOP
Serves 6
1¼ lbs. mushrooms
¾ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
¼ cup brandy
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
1½ cups whipping cream
Salt and white pepper
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen puff pastry shells
1 lg. egg, lightly beaten

Trim and discard tough or discolored stem ends and any bruised spots from mushrooms. Rinse common mushrooms and drain well. (If using chanterelles, submerge in cool water and gently agitate with your hands to loosen dirt. Drain, rinse under running water, and gently pat dry with a towel.) Coarsely chop mushrooms.
In a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat add onion, celery and garlic; stir until onion is limp, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir often until their liquid is evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Add brandy and stir to scrape up browned bits from pan bottom and sides. Add wine and boil until most of the liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add broth and return to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend flavors, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a blender, holding down lid with a towel, whirl mixture, a portion at a time, until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Stir in cream, then salt and pepper to taste. Chill, stirring occasionally, until soup is at room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
Spoon soup into six round soufflé dishes or ovenproof bowls (1¼- to 1½-cup size; 3½ to 4½ in. wide) to within ½ inch of rim.
On a lightly floured board, roll each puff pastry shell into a round 1 to 1½ inches wider than top of soufflé dishes. Brush egg in a ½-inch border around the bottom edge (unscored side) of each pastry round. Carefully drape each round, egg side down, over a dish so that it doesn’t touch soup; press edges firmly around sides of dish. Brush more egg lightly over pastry tops and sides (discard remaining egg or save for another use). Set dishes at least 1 inch apart in a 12- by 17-inch baking pan.
Bake in a 375° regular or convection oven until pastry is richly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve at once.

GRILLED MUSHROOM BURGER
Serves 4
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 sweet onion
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup chopped basil or 1 T. dried
¼ t. sea salt
¼ t. freshly ground pepper
8 portobella mushroom caps
4 (1 oz.) slices provolone cheese

Cut each bell pepper into 8 strips; cut onions into 8 slices.
Combine vinegar and next 5 ingredients in a shallow dish or large zip-lock bag, add bell pepper and onion.
Cover and seal, and chill 30 minutes. Add mushroom caps; cover or seal, and chill, turning occasionally, 30 minutes.
Remove vegetables from marinade, reserving marinade; set mushroom caps aside.
Grill remaining vegetables, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350-400°) 10 minutes or until partially charred.
Place 4 mushroom caps upside down, and top evenly with grilled vegetables and cheese slices; place remaining mushroom caps, right side up, over cheese.
Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350-400°) until cheese melts, turning once. Serve with reserved marinade. You may also serve this on a baguette.