I fully blame (thank) Jacques Pépin for my new intrigue (obsession) with mushroom. I’m about to finish up his memoir, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. I won’t begin to go into all the things I love about Pépin and highly recommend the book.
But throughout it’s meaty pages he often talks about foraging for mushrooms, first with his father throughout France as his family relocated to open restaurants, and then when he bought a house with his wife near chef friends in upstate NY. While there are many culinary explorations I’m dying to try (owning chickens!!!), I’ll leave the foraging for experts – though I’ll jump on tagging along any chance I get.
I grew up not eating mushrooms; I have an arthritic condition as a result of years of Lyme Disease, so anything that’s moldy has been off the table since I was young (aged cheeses, peanuts, potato and carrot skins etc.). But recently I’ve been nagged by this absence, and have slowly been tossing mushrooms into food with wild, happy abandon.
So today in Fairway I noticed these gorgeous little gems at about $3.80 for 3.3 ounces and, oops, they fell into my basket! It wasn’t until I got home that I fell completely in love.
The little things came on their stem, very much like a shell, and were so delicate and dainty that I almost dared not to touch them! But then, of course, I did, to pop one raw into my mouth.
They are so delightful! Delicate, subtle. The texture is gentle – they’re not at all chewy or rough, but rather silky and smooth. Their taste has an almost floral hint, though many have written that they taste like the sea mollusk of which they’re named.
Pretty much all the sites I looked at said to sauté them with butter before adding them to soup, but I didn’t want any butter in the Chicken Coconut Soup recipe I was building, so I simply chopped them up and threw them in (saving a few to top the soup with raw). They absorbed the flavors of the soup perfectly and didn’t lose their tiny shapes.
Oh, happy day! Thanks, Jacques!