Mushroom Caviar

September 27th, 2016 4 Comments

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Our monsoon rainfalls in the upper Midwest this summer have resulted in a bumper year for mushrooms….we take those silver linings whenever we can.  The Northeastern U.S. on the other hand has probably experienced a crummy year for the moisture-loving fungi, I believe the Midwest has squeezed every drop of Wetness out of the air and left none for them.  Sorry folks, we would truly love to send some of this excess precipitation your way.

 

Here we see a pile of adorable Oysters, Miniature Puffballs, Entaloma abortiva, and Boxelder mushrooms.  Other tasty varieties for this dish would be Chanterelle, Shiitake, Chicken of the Woods, and Criminy.  Fungus—-such strange creatures they are!

 

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Mushroom ‘caviar’ on baby blinis, how very Baltic.  This tasty grey matter would also be good on crostini, on a chicken sandwich or with scrambled eggs.

 

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Mushroom “Caviar” was one of the many dishes featured at the Estonian Dinner from the cookbook Food and Cooking of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania by Silvena Johen.

Estonia has an ideal climate and vegetation for mushrooms and they are a common part of traditional cooking, along with wild berries and herbs.  Check out more about mushrooming in Estonia, particularly in the Soomaa National Park.  These guides in the Soomaa National Park may take you on mushroom hunting trips but I’m pretty certain, if they’re anything like mushroom hunters around here, they will never ever ever divulge the location of their own personal sweet spots.  Those precious patches of eukaryotic organisms are are guarded with the utmost secrecy.

The skill of finding and identifying mushrooms is part of the cultural heritage in the Baltic and Slavic regions, and the knowledge is passed down through the generations.  There is a Czech saying “všechny houby jsou jedlé, ale některé jenom jednou”.  Basically it means “every mushroom is edible, but some only once”.  Only with great guidance should you wander out and start foraging!  Really.

 

You can grow your own with mushroom kits or take it to another level with the help from the North American Mycological Association.  If you can’t find exotic mushrooms in your specialty stores you can order dried ones from FungusAmongus.com.

 

 

Mushroom “Caviar”

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

 

Sauté 2-3 minutes:

1 Tablespoon Butter

1 1/2 pounds of a Mushroom Medley, roughly chopped (some should be stronger tasting like oyster or shiitake)

Add and sauté for another 5 minutes

1/4 cup Shallots, diced

2-3 cloves Garlic, minced

Add and simmer 2-3 more minutes:

1/4 cup Brandy

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Turn off heat and add:

2-3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream

Let everything cool a bit then transfer to a food processor.  

Pulse chop until roughly blended, then transfer to a bowl and stir in:

2 Tablespoons Chives, minced

2 Tablespoons Parsley, minced

Use as a topping for crostini or blinis, with scrambled eggs, or heat with cooked chicken for a delicious dish on rice or pasta. 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. sherry says:

    i want to live at your house. and eat. and to learn to cook. you actually are awesome.

    • Ruth says:

      thanks sherry…though you’d find most of my home meals are very simple. The best time to come around is when there are catering leftovers!

  2. Barb says:

    Thanks for the invitation, Ruth!

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