Four ways to cook autumn fungi

Mushrooms on Toast

Mushrooms on Toast - Credit: Kerstin Rodgers

The autumn months are peak mushroom season. I've foraged in France, where picking fungi is a way of life, but also in the UK where I scraped oyster mushrooms from a resting tree trunk and cooked them with butter, white wine and garlic.

You have to be careful though. Even experts make mistakes. I only pick obvious ones like yellow chanterelles and ceps. To be on the safe side use a trusted supplier like totallywilduk who will send you a box of foraged goodies. Ideally you do not wash mushrooms, just wipe with a damp cloth or brush off the dirt, but cultivated mushrooms tends to be clean and can go straight in the pan.

Mushrooms on Toast

Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil
50 g butter
mushrooms of your choice
2 tbsps creme fraiche
salt and pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
chopped parsley

Method:

Using a frying pan, sauté the mushrooms in the oil and butter. Once lightly golden, add the creme fraiche, salt and pepper.
Pour onto toast and eat immediately. Add parsley and a squeeze of lemon if you wish.


Asian Mushroom Noodle Broth (serves 4)

Use Asian varieties such as enoki, brown beech or king oyster mushrooms.

Mushroom broth

Mushroom noodle Asian broth - Credit: Kerstin Rodgers

Ingredients:

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2 cloves garlic, crushed
thumb ginger, peeled, crushed , I've taken also to buying small frozen blocks of ginger from Asian supermarkets
3 inch strip of Kombu seaweed
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
250 ml water
3 tbsp vegetable or groundnut oil
fistful Asian mushrooms, lightly washed
salt and pepper
150 g noodles, soba or other types
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
sprinkle toasted sesame seeds

Method:

Add the garlic, ginger, soy, seaweed and 250ml of water to a medium sized pot and bring to the boil. Then simmer for ten minutes. In a frying pan, sauté the mushrooms with the oil, salt and pepper, then set aside,
Add the noodles to the broth until just cooked.
Prepare 4 bowls: add broth, noodles, some mushrooms, a sprinkling of spring onions and sesame seeds. Serve hot.

Wild Mushroom Forest Pie (serves 6)

This recipe is from my book, V is for Vegan but feel free to use non-vegan products.

Mushroom pie

Mushroom pie - Credit: Kerstin Rodgers

Ingredients:

Use 500g of ready-made shortcrust pastry or make as follows:

500 g plain flour
1 tsp sea salt
150 ml olive oil, frozen for a couple of hours before using
100 ml iced water
1 tsp cider vinegar

For the mushroom filling:
3 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
750 g wild mushrooms
100 ml creme fraiche or soya cream
100 ml vermouth or white wine
salt and pepper

To decorate:
12 stemmed mushrooms for decoration
butter or vegan equivalent for brushing
milk or vegan equivalent for glazing

Method: For the pastry

Put flour and salt into a large bowl, add the olive oil by the spoonful, cutting it into the flour until the dough appears 'pebbly'.
Mix the iced water with the vinegar and dribble it into the dough gradually until you have a soft ball.
Divide the dough into two balls and press them flat. Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge.

For the filling:
Heat the olive oil iin a frying pan, adding the shallots and the garlic. Sweat until soft. Add the mushrooms, cream and vermouth or wine. Cook until thick. Season and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200C.

To assemble the pie, roll out both discs of pastry to the thickness of a pound coin to fit the size of your pan.
Fit the bottom crust and pour in the cooled filling. Cover with the top crust and pinch together to seal the sides. Trim any excess.

For decoration: Make 5 slits in the top and poke the mushrooms into them (the holes help the steam escape). Brush the mushrooms with butter or vegan equivalent. Brush the top of the pie with milk or vegan equivalent.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 180C and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes, so the top turns golden.

Mushrooms a la Grecque

This recipe is a delicious blast from the past, rather 70s but you’ll still find mushrooms in traiteurs or delis in France that are slightly pickled. It’s simple but every time I make it, I end up eating the whole pan by myself.

Mushrooms a la Greque

Mushrooms a la Greque - Credit: Kerstin Rodgers

Ingredients:
50 ml olive oil
400 g whole button mushrooms, any dirt brushed off (if larger, then slice)
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Splash white wine, optional
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds, heaped
2 fresh sprigs of thyme
1 tsp sea salt
Ground white pepper, to taste

Method:

Heat the oil gently in a medium saucepan on a medium heat then, add the mushrooms.
Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for around ten minutes then serve or leave to cool and serve later.
Can be kept in the fridge for up to two days.

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