AUTUMN is my favourite season, bringing with it crisp, sunny days and cooler nights. I look forward to its bountiful harvest and start planning my favourite dishes to cook. Nothing signals the arrival of autumn and the accompanying welcome rain as much as mushrooms. While cultivated mushrooms are available year round, wild mushroom season is now.
Mushrooms suit stir-frying, barbecuing, grilling and roasting and are a wonderful source of B vitamins and antioxidants, a rich source of folate and potassium. Each variety has a texture and taste of its own, so experiment and try something new.
I have included a quick and easy miso soup —you only really need a kettle and boiling water. Just add some soft udon noodles, a handful of leafy Asian greens and mushrooms, of course. I have used enoki in my recipe, but you could also use shiitake, perfect for a quick and nourishing meal. You can get miso soup sachets in health food shops or in the Asian aisle of the supermarket. You will also find them at many organic and specialty food stores.
For a substantial brunch or latenight supper, try this Mediterranean dish of pan-fried mushrooms with baked eggs served in the pan. Serve with some rustic artisan bread to mop up all the delicious juices. I have adapted this recipe from a fabulous food store, Gas Eatery, in South Melbourne.
The farro with mushrooms and silverbeet was inspired by Skye Gyngell’s recent visit to the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Farro is a grain that has been traditionally used in Italian cooking and is available at Cardamone Gourmet Supermarket, Fairfield, or Enoteca Sileno, Carlton. It is easily digestible and has a firm chewy texture when cooked.
Instant miso soup with enoki and bok choy
This soup only requires a kettle. Enoki mushrooms are delicate in flavour. Add shredded cooked chicken and pieces of tofu, if you like.
2 x 200g packets fresh udon noodles
4 x 18g sachets instant miso soup
2 bok choy, quartered
100g pack enoki mushrooms
1 tbs soy sauce
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Bring kettle to the boil.
Rinse bok choy to remove any dirt. Place in heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain.
Place noodles in large heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water for 2 minutes until softened and heated through. Drain.
Place a sachet miso paste in the bottom of 4 soup bowls, add boiling water and stir. Divide noodles between bowls, add 2 pieces of bok choy and a small bunch of enoki mushrooms to each bowl, season with soy sauce, garnish with spring onions and serve.
Farro with mushrooms and silverbeet
20g dried porcini mushrooms
half bunch silverbeet
2 tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
200g swiss brown mushrooms
1 tbs aged balsamic vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
half cup grated parmesan
Rinse farro well under cold running water.
Place in a saucepan, cover with cold water, add a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until farro is tender but still retains a definite bite. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, place porcini mushrooms in heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
Wash silverbeet and cut the leaves from stems. Slice stems thinly. Finely chop leaves and set aside.
Heat butter and oil in medium frypan, add silverbeet stems, garlic and onion and cook for a few minutes until softened.
Wipe mushrooms with clean damp cloth and slice thickly.
Add to pan with silverbeet.
Drain porcini mushrooms, reserving liquid. Add drained mushrooms to pan. Toss to combine and cook until mushrooms are softened. Add silverbeet leaves and cook gently for a few minutes. Remove from heat. Place in large serving bowl. Add drained farro and combine. Sprinkle over balsamic vinegar and season well with salt and pepper. Add parmesan cheese and check seasoning. Add extra vinegar or a little reserved mushroom liquid if desired.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 4 as a side dish.
Field mushrooms and eggs served in the pan
1 tbsp olive oil
3 x 400g tins peeled diced tomatoes
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 heaped tbsp tomato paste
1 ½ tsp harissa
salt and pepper for seasoning
75g unsalted butter
4 large fi eld mushrooms, thickly sliced
4 free-range eggs
½ cup pitted green spanish olives
(rough chop in large segments)
150g Bulgarian fetta, crumbled
chopped Italian parsley and fresh basil to serve
Heat large frypan with olive oil and add tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste and harissa. Bring to the boil, lower heat and allow sauce to gently
simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
Melt butter in a separate pan and cook mushrooms until golden. Add extra butter if necessary.
Add mushrooms to tomato mixture.
Add salt and pepper to season.
Make four small wells in the sauce and crack eggs into these, sprinkle with olives and cover with a lid. Allow
eggs to cook on medium heat for six to eight minutes until whites are firm, but the yolks are still runny.
Add crumbled fetta, sprinkle with basil and parsley and serve with crusty bread.