Now is the time buy up all the wild mushrooms you can!
Wild mushrooms are such a totally different taste to the supermarket or even dried variety. Each has it's time and place, mainly convienience but nothing beats the earthy, delicate aroma of a kitchen filled with wild mushrooms.
I am huge mushroom fan, but I do hate badly prepared mushrooms. The slimy, boiled to death, dishwater coloured badly cooked variety are really hard to enjoy!
Here are a few important things to know about wild mushrooms.
1. You will spend more time preparing them, than cooking them. Put some music on, pour a glass of wine and take a clean and dry pastry brush, and select every mushroom, pick off any leaves, sticks and brush. NEVER EVER WASH UNDER WATER, NEVER!
2. Select the biggest frying pan you have. You should never cram mushrooms in a pan. That is how these little fungi get a bad name. An over crowded pan will make the mushroom produce water and then the mushrooms boil in their own water and never cook properly. Spread them out in the pan and if you need to cook in batches, then do so.
3. You can freeze them raw. Lay them flat in a freezer bag, so they get the chance to freeze individually. When frozen, shake the bag. They won't really keep more than 3-4 months. Use from frozen, but use the frying tips from above, so you don't boil them, or add them to a sauce.
4. Wild mushrooms are a delicate taste, no need for overpowering flavours. Be complimentary, garlic, butter, cream & parsly is just perfect!
5. Foraging is a lost art. You really need to know what you are picking. Buy from farmers markets, gourmet markets and know the provenance, you wouldn't want to poison anyone!
6. Never store in plastic bag! They will sweat and go slimy in a matter or hours! Either use a paper bag and leave it open or transfer to a colander and keep fresh.
We'll be putting together some wild mushroom recipes over the weekend, so check in to the recipe section.