Foodie Tuesday: Mushrooming Appetite

Don’t you just love a good fungus? The edible kind, I mean. Well, I do.
Photo: Morels

There’s something subtle and musky and sensual about a good dish, beautifully prepared,  with mushrooms in it. Alluring, even a little mysterious. Eating it is like taking a walk in the woods, filling my lungs with the bracing green and mossy air, and hearing the whisper of spirits in the trees. I feel more at one with nature. Raw mushrooms have never quite had the same effect on me, being to my mind a little too much like erasers in texture, though a well-dressed one might pass for the preferred texture of cooked ones as a pickle or in a salad, perhaps. But lightly sautéed or slow-cooked into a dish, mushrooms call to me.

My answer might come in a soup bowl, if I’m lucky, where the fungi can take the starring role rather than a supporting one and their mild and loamy loveliness can be the center of my affectionate attentions.
Photo: Chanterelle Gold

Sweet Mushroom Chowder

Take one bulb of fresh fennel and two shallots, thinly sliced. One large carrot, diced small. One sprig of fresh thyme. Sauté in plenty of butter. Add two cups fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced or coarsely chopped. Sauté the vegetables and mushrooms all together until everything’s golden and very faintly crisped. Pull out the thyme stem. Deglaze the pan with a hearty splash of Calvados, if you have it (or some dry sherry, brandy, apple juice, broth or water). Take two cups of well cooked sweet corn kernels, drained, and puree them [a stick blender is handy for this] until silky smooth with about a half cup of whole milk, then stir the corn puree with the mixed mushrooms and vegetables. Adjust to the thickness you prefer with more milk, if needed. Season the chowder to taste with white pepper, grated nutmeg, and salt.

Slurp slowly, if you can, and let the understory elegance of the mushrooms have its full magical effect on you.

12 thoughts on “Foodie Tuesday: Mushrooming Appetite

    • Neil! How nice to see you! Hope your holidays were beautiful, and your family are all well. I shall have to find a little time to get back and savor your wonderful photos, too! Glad you enjoyed the mushrooms. 🙂

  1. Like erasers….hahaha….that is such an apt description!
    And so is the other one! So evocative. Makes me want to go for a walk through mossy woods…except its dead winter and so will have to wait on that one. *sigh*
    The recipe however sounds delicious and can be made pronto. Which it will be. Tonight. Fennel and mushrooms…yum! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • One of the things I like about mushrooms! Morels might be too intense for a light-and-sweet sort of recipe like this one, but the chanterelles would certainly do nicely, as would any of the common grocery varieties that are generally rather bland on their own; they can soak up the other flavors wonderfully. 😉

  2. Of course, the way you write makes them sound delectable, K, but I’ll confess that I don’t like them at all. My hubby loves them but since I do the shopping, he doesn’t get them. 🙂 Once in awhile, I’ll give in and buy some for him to add to his omelets, which he’s good at making. Otherwise, well, what can I say? Yuck! 😉 Enjoy though! You make everything look delicious! xoxo

    • Sorry to gross you out. 😉 I know that lots of wonderfully refined and adorable people don’t like mushrooms the way I do, including not only you but my own sweet mother in law. If you like eggplant (aubergine) or zucchini (courgette), you might dice them up and get a similar effect, especially if you salt-cure the eggplant to soften and mellow it a little first. But it’s no never mind; there’s something to please everyone, and not *everything* has to please us all!

      Hope your week has started kindly and continues to be better and better!

    • The whole concept of eating fungi is almost as strange as that of eating insects, but plenty of us do that without a blink either. I prefer to limit myself to “sea bugs” (shrimp, prawns, and other crustaceans), at present, but if an expert offers me something of their own cultural preference I’d be inclined to try it, given how much I like the bugs I do eat. And of course, the things I *don’t* like to eat are often other people’s favorites. Go figure. Good thing there are enough oddities around to please most palates…. 😉

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