Tuesday, August 14, 2007
M is for Mushrooms
This summer I have been allowing fungi to slowly grow in my airing cupboard and under the kitchen sink. Nestled between the sweet-smelling duvets, pillowcases and towels there is a bed of budding mushrooms. Once the grey layer of mycelium forms I move the latent crop to a cooler spot under the sink, where Freddie and Alex are checking their progress. And little by little,this web of grey morphs into small white pods. And the small white pods will in time become our mushroom crop.
The Great Big Vegetable Challenge has become more than a race through the alphabet of vegetables. We like to stop and become better acquainted with our latest new veg. (Strictly speaking, mushrooms don't belong in this challenge but we don't like to exclude)And it might sound strange but vegetables tell stories too. I remember my father growing his own mushrooms in the scullery of our Edinburgh home. At the age of 6, checking the mushroom crop was my job. Deciding when to harvest them was a fine judgement, taken by Dad. What we hadn't realised was that the cat was making a similar call each night. I came down to the kitchen one morning to a terrible smell. Mixing my animal metaphors, the cat looked a little sheepish. That was the last mushroom kit my father ever bought.
We don't have a cat and as we wait for our mushrooms to grow, we bought some from the supermarket and topped them with bacon and parmesan. Freddie scored this 8 out of 10. We would love to hear what your favourite mushroom toppings are...
Flat mushrooms with bacon and parmesan
4 large flat mushrooms
3 rashes of bacon
1 small onion
4 tbsp of bread crumb
4 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil spray
Wash and dry the mushrooms. Cut off the stalks and chop them up finely. Place the mushrooms on a baking tray and lightly spray or drizzle with olive oil.
Pour a small amount of olive oil in a pan and heat. Finely chop a small onion, bacon and add the chopped mushroom stalks and sauté for 4 minutes. In a bowl mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese together. Fill the mushrooms equally with the bacon and onion mixture and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs and parmesan on top. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Place in a preheated oven at 180C and bake for about 20 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked. Don’t allow the toppings to burn. Serve on a toasted, buttered muffin.