Monday, September 24, 2007

Exotic mushrooms

One of the first things I learned at Claridges was "Flavour!" which came next to Seasoning ("more salt!"). To get the best flavour you have to start with sourcing the best quality ingredients. There are many mushrooms available from common (and rather bland) button mushrooms to the most expensive and rare ceps and girolles. The exotic mushrooms we use for our fillet of beef dish come from a farm in Leicestershire.

These ones are:

  1. Yellow oyster
  2. Buna-Shimeji
  3. Shiro-Shimeji
  4. Enoki (the thin straw like mushrooms - common in Japanese cookery)
  5. Grey oyster


The best ingredients have to have care in the preparation. Preparing mushrooms for such numbers at Claridges would be an afternoon job. We would wash them in luke warm water (cold water damages them), dry them on cloths to remove most of the excess water, then place them on trays underneath the hot lamps of the serving pass (on lowest setting). Now I cater for smaller numbers I have more time to spend on preparation, and prefer to brush any dirt off the mushrooms as below with a pastry brush specially kept for this task. Washing mushrooms is all very well, but with such delicate mushrooms as these it can destroy the texture.



These wild mushrooms also work brilliantly for breakfast or brunch cooked in a little cream and served on top of muffins as shown in an earlier entry.

Ref also: Chanterelle mushrooms: http://www.thecotswoldfoodyear.com/2007/12/chanterelle-mushrooms.html

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