Thursday, May 5, 2011

Shroomin on a Sunday Afternoon

© 2011 John Houser III

One of the better things about springtime is the return of the JFX Farmer's Market. It's a great place to grab some breakfast/ lunch, meet up with friends, get out of the house for a bit and most importantly; buy fresh vegetables.

One of the stands I really have never given my custom to was the mushroom farmers table. They sell, unsurprisingly, mushrooms and prepared mushroom dishes to eat there or take home. One of the reasons I have never bought anything from them in the past is because I thought that most of their prices were a bit too high for just a small box of mushrooms. Yes, yes... I know. Certain fresh mushrooms are expensive and I have no problem paying for them, but usually when presented with a choice between a box of expensive (to me) mushrooms and almost anything else in the FM (that's slang for Farmer's Market), I'm going with almost anything else.

That was until two weeks ago when I noticed that they were selling a box of assorted mushrooms for $11 (at time of writing). Curious, I looked over the contents of the box and was hit by a bolt of inspiration. I'm a sucker for caramelized mushrooms over toast and this seemed like the perfect mushroom mélange for the job. The different types of fungi would combine their collective flavors to make a mushroomy super group.

To add a spring flavor to the dish, I decided to add a few spears of our old friend Mr. Asparagus and a couple of spring onions. Rounding out the dish is some butter, garlic and thyme. And finally, to give the dish a punch in the face I am hitting it with some Dijon mustard, lemon juice and a little bit of chili pepper.

This dish is easy to make because there is  no need for fussiness or special techniques. The important thing to do for this dish is to remember to get a lot of caramelization on the mushrooms. It makes the dish and adds a depth that will make you want to go back to the mushroom people every week that the Farmer's Market is open.

Caramelized Mushrooms on Toast


© 2011 John Houser III

1 box of assorted Mushrooms (or a mix of Shitakes, button, oyster, cremini, maitake and Shimeji mushrooms) -  1/2 pound chopped or torn into medium size pieces
4 medium size spears of Asparagus thinly sliced on the bias (see picture)
2 medium size Spring Onions- light green parts minced, dark green parts sliced
1 bunch of Thyme woody parts picked away and chopped finely
1/2 Lemon
1 ounce butter
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 dried red chili minced
2 Slices of Country Bread (Italian, French)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup water

1. Tear the bigger mushrooms into smaller pieces. Chop the buttons and caps into slices. It's ok if the parts seem big, they will shrink during cooking.

© 2011 John Houser III

2. Chop the asparagus on the bias. It's not hard. Just move your asparagus spear from being in the nine o'clock position (spear head to the left) to the 10 o'clock position and slowly slice thin pieces from the bottom of the spear until you have reached the top. Place pieces into a ramekin.

© 2011 John Houser III

3. Do the same slice job on the spring onions except you will want to separate the dark green parts from the light green parts. Continue to chop the light green parts until they are minced.  Place the light greens in their own ramekin. Place the dark green slices in the ramekin with the asparagus in it.

© 2011 John Houser III

4. Heat a few good glugs (technical term alert!) of extra virgin olive oil until is starts to shimmer. That's how you know it's hot. If you cant see the shimmer, one good way to see if your oil is hot enough place one piece of mushroom into the oil and look for bubbling/ sizzling around the outside of the mushroom.

© 2011 John Houser III

5. Once the oil is hot, throw in the mushrooms and don't move them. Do not add salt to the pan!!!! If you add salt to the mushrooms a kitten will punch a baby in the face. Let the shrooms sit in the pan until you notice the bottoms starting to brown at the edges.

6.  Give the mushrooms a stir once they have browned and then add the minced garlic, chili and the minced light green spring onions. Stir to cover with a little oil. If the mushrooms have soaked up all of the oil then add a little more to coat the garlic and onions.

7. Oil up the slices of bread with some extra vigin olive oil.  Use a toaster oven or an oven set on broil. Watch your bread carefully as it will go from soft white bread to charcoal very easily. Seriously..... watch those soft and crusty little bastards,,,,

© 2011 John Houser III

8. Once the garlic and spring onions are soft and tender from cooking, add the butter and let it melt. Add the mustard and the lemon juice into the mix and then stir everything together. Now hit the pan with the 1/4 cup of water. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring to get a sauce made. Once the sauce (and it won't be a lot) is not watery turn off the heat.  

9. Add the sliced dark green onions and the asparagus and let the heat of the mushroom mixture  take care of the rest.

© 2011 John Houser III

10. Take out your toast (it's preferable to have a little char on them) and put them on your plate. The reason you only broiled the tops is because you want the tops crunchy and ready to sop up some sauce but not get soggy. The bottoms should be light and fluffy to mop up what's left on the plate. If the bread was toasted all the way it would be a bitch to cut up and it would totally fuck the roof of your mouth up like a bowl of Cap'n Crunch when you were a kid.

© 2011 John Houser III

11. Spoon the hot mixture over your toast. It's time to eat!

© 2011 John Houser III
This dish is delicious and healthy. Mushrooms on toast, it doesn't get anymore simple.

© 2011 John Houser III

But I can hear some of you out there saying "John, what if I wanted to put an egg on it?" Well dearest reader my answer would be "Fucking right  you can put an egg on this delicious motherfucker!!!!"

© 2011 John Houser III

Remember, a recipe is only a guideline. Feel free to improvise with whatever your taste buds are telling you what they want. Enjoy!!


1 comment:

Unknown said...

You crack me up! Love reading your posts!