Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Having Cheese and Dried Wild Mushrooms on Hand Makes for a Quick Supper

The folks at Marx Fine Foods were kind enough to send 5 samples of the wild dry mushrooms. I had so much fun trying different ways I could use these little bitefuls of flavor, texture and nutrition.

I was sent these varieties: Porcini Mushrooms, Matsutake Mushrooms, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Maitake Mushrooms and Lobster Mushrooms. Each kind sealed and pre-sliced nicely ready for use any time.

What I love about having dried mushrooms in the pantry is that when you're running low on produce, you can always whip up a dish with mushrooms. Mushrooms are not only dense in fiber and protein and a good source of B vitamins, copper and other minerals, they also are light in calories. They add nutrition, flavor and make you feel full without any fat or a lot of calories.

The possibilities are endless when you have these little dried gems in storage. They last easily up to a year in your cupboard. And rehydrating them is no mystery. Simply pour some boiling water over them and let them sit for 10 minutes or so--they're ready when soft tender. If you're not in a hurry, put them in a small cup or bowl of water and let sit for a couple of hours. To use in any recipe, simply drain away the water-- and that's it-- they're even easier to use than the fresh mushrooms!

Some of the varieties are chewy and some are toothsome, and each have a unique aroma and flavor. I used the Matsutake Mushrooms in a Shiritake Noodle stirfry (yum!) and the the Black Trumpet Mushrooms, with their vanilla scent, I used in a Sweet Chilled Korean-inspired dessert beverage. I had plans to make a quick pizza with the Porcini Mushrooms but they ended up in a Vietnamese chicken and ginger dish instead.

Some of the easiest to eat are the Lobster Mushroom variety. As their name suggests, they have a "shoreline" smell (as described from their site), so I thought I'd try them with some canned Alaskan salmon that was also in the pantry. These unusual mushrooms have a reddish-orange tinge, a shoreline smell but surprisingly blend into a savory dish with little effort. What I came up with is a Wild Mushroom Cheese Fritatta incorporating 2 varieties of cheese I had in the refrigerator.

This cheese recipe is extremely easy to prepare, and takes no time at all.

Wild Mushroom Frittata with Taleggio and Camembert Cheese

6 eggs
Lobster Mushrooms, small handful
1/2 can Alaska Salmon
3 oz soft cheese variety (Taleggio and Camembert)
3/4 cups evaporated milk
1/2 onion, chopped
salt (1/2 teaspoon), pepper, paprika
2 tablespoons Olive oil

Heat oven to 400F degrees. Rehydrate the mushrooms and drain away water. Drain the canned salmon. Beat the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in the milk with the eggs until incorporated well. Add the salmon and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the egg mixture. Slice cheeses thinly.

In a oven-safe skillet heat olive oil over a hot stove. Saute onions for a quick minute and add the mushrooms. Throw in a pinch of salt. Soften and carmelize for another quick minute. Then, pour in the egg mixture and let sit for 2 minutes allowing the bottom of the fritatta to brown. Drape the Taleggio and Camembert cheese over the top.

Put skillet in oven and bake for 10 minutes. It's done when slightly browned and congealed with a little shake.

This recipe is a nice alternative to quiche-- easier to make and also lower in fat. The flavors are very mild so a nice pickled condiment with some fresh crudities on the side would suit it well.

Dried wild mushrooms are a pantry essential-- super convenient and easy to use. Thanks to the good folks at Marx Fine Foods.

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