Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Mushroom magic

The finished dish and the ingredient that brought it to life

For those of you not registered or followers of UK food bloggers. This is a challenge set by Julia Parsons , the founder of UKFBA and her co-organiser Scott of Real Epicurean. The idea is that they choose 3 seasonal ingredients which are put in the bag and we have to come up with a dish and blog about it.

This months ingredients are:

Mushrooms
Nuts
Herbs

For my "In the bag" dish I have chosen to cook my interpretation, (Oh dear I hear you all say.Here we go O Cozinheiro meddling with tradition again) of a traditional regional Portuguese speciality from the inland province of Tras-os Montes  in the far north of Portugal. I have used wild field mushrooms, grown locally and sourced by our local independent supermarket here in Castro Marim.This dish can make a rustic main course or sophisticated small bite starter, and the other great joy is that it can, for the greater part, be cooked in advance and finished off in 10 minutes.Wild mushrooms have a much richer flavour than the bland cultivated varieties, go easy on the mace as it can overpower the dish. Otherwise the subtlety of the flavours coming through are extraordinary.
Migas ( fried bread ) is a device in Portuguese cooking for soaking up juices.You will often find fried bread under a lamb stew or sardines. Mushrooms give off a lot of juices in the cooking and this is a perfect way of eliminating a lot of unwanted gravy on your plate.

Congumelos guisados com migas e rolado de pistachio tostado
(stewed wild mushrooms on fried bread with a pistachio crumb topping )

serves 4-6
1 kg wild mushrooms or field mushrooms
100g smoked ham, pancetta or lean bacon diced
4 medium slices of rustic country bread
4 cloves garlic plus extra
4 tablespoons olive oil and a little butter
4 shallots finely chopped
1 level desertspoon Dijon mustard
pinch of mace or nutmeg
Splash of Madeira wine
100g toasted pistachios crushed with your fingers
grated zest of orange and lemon
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley  sprigs and a  few chive stalks to garnish the plates

Wipe the mushrooms and cut off the end of the stalks. Cut the mushrooms into irregular sized pieces, leaving small ones whole without the stalk.Set aside. Fry the shallots and bacon gently in the oil and butter. Add the mushrooms and stir in the mustard, mace and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for two to three minutes until the mushrooms start to absorb the juices in the pan. Splash the mushrooms with Madeira and cook a further minute. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and rest in a warm place, add a little more olive oil and fry the slices of bread until golden on both sides.
Place the fried bread slices on plates and top with the mushrooms.Garnish the plates with parsley sprigs. Sprinkle the crushed pistachio crumbs over the top of the mushrooms and finish with the orange and lemon zest. carefully lay three or four chives across the top and serve.

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