Quick Braised Wild and Oyster Mushrooms

Remember our beautiful walk recently?  We had such a wonderful morning and came home with about half a kilo of wild mushrooms.

Because they were so fresh, I knew they would keep for a day or two, so in the first dish I made, I used half of them and kept things very simple.

We grow oyster mushrooms in our garage. No, don´t worry – there´s no nasty fungus creeping up the walls or anything.  You can buy bales of straw which are impregnated with mushroom spores and then wrapped in black plastic.  You cut slits into the plastic and keep the “alpaca” as these bales are known in the dark and ensure that they are kept damp.  About a week after acquiring your little treasure your first mushrooms will appear.  Just cut and eat.  Then when you´ve harvested as many as you can, you flip the alpaca over and cut a few more slits.  If you keep it going you can be eating your own grown oyster mushrooms for several months.

I took about the same quantity of oyster mushrooms as wild, cut the wild mushrooms into thick slices and tore the oyster mushrooms into strips.

In a deep terracotta dish (or you could use a frying pan) I added three crushed cloves to garlic to the mushrroms together with about 3 good tablespoons of olive oil, some Maldon (or kosher) salt, several good grinds of black pepper and two red chillis (these are optional).  I turned the heat up to high and as soon as the mushrooms began to sizzle I reduced it and covered them to let them sweat and get tender for about 10 minutes.  I then removed the lid and added a small glass of dry white wine and let everything bubble away until the liquid had reduced by half.

We ate this as a starter with plenty of rosé wine and some crusty bread to mop up the delicious juices.

 

PS. On a totally different subject – since I changed the look of my blog (i.e I changed the theme) my photos don´t seem to appear properly.  They are cut off on the right hand side!  Has anyone come across this and do they know how to resolve it? Thanks for any advice anyone might be able to offer me.

The Lengths (or Heights) We Go To For A Mushroom

The rain poured down all night and some time around 4am, Big Man woke up and mumbled “If it´s sunny tomorrow and we set off early, we´ll go and look for mushrooms”.  Of course, he rolled over again, snoring was resumed and sleep once more descended.

The next day did dawn bright and sunny, we just slept through the dawn and a few hours of the beautiful  morning too, if the truth be told.  However, the weather was perfect for a long walk and if we found a few mushrooms too…well, that would be a bonus.  Please join us on our mushroom (or Setas as they are called here) scavenge.

You´ll need:

  • Two slightly overweight and unfit adults, brimming with enthusiasm and suitably attired and shod for walking
  • Two energetic pups
  • One pick up truck
  • 2 ham and cheese rolls for breakfast, water for adults and pups, doggy treats, camera
  • Net bag for collecting mushroom haul (so that the spores can fall out and spread more mushroomy goodness)
  • Penknife for cutting them (never pull up by the root)

Directions

Drive truck 4km up steep and slightly scary mountain track behind house, allow dogs to run enthusiastically behind.

Park up and start to climb.

Pass huge, rampaging wild animals and ignore The Goatherd With No Shame when he tells you there is nothing to be found and he hasn´t been up that way for weeks.  We saw the fresh tracks of his horses…you can´t fool us!

Admire old well.

Continue past The Lightning Tree.

Stop for a moment to catch your breath and look back at the view of the lake and then the sea in the distance.

Cross (not so) raging torrent.

Avoid anthills.

Finally…your first mushroom!

Keep going for three hours with a little break for breakfast and a chat with the Honest Goatherd who sends you off to look behind the Old Fig Tree where you are rewarded with a bumper find of mushrooms.

500g grams of delicious mushrooms which you will take home to make something delicious with. But more of that another time. Time for a cold beer and to ease your muddy boots off.  A good morning´s mushroom hunting all round.