Throughout the growing season, we'll interview local farmers, chefs and other food lovers about seasonal cooking. Have a question? Email it to food writer Sarah Baker Hansen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As soon as I laid eyes on Cindy McCann's bowl of giant mushrooms in her booth at the Village Pointe Farmers Market on Saturday morning, I knew I had my column for this week.
She told me the giant fungi were pearl oyster mushrooms. They have to be eaten cooked and taste similar to classic button mushrooms — though their flavor is stronger, she said. She's used them in cream of mushroom soup, sautéed with olive oil and butter and a splash of balsamic vinegar and especially in omelets or with eggs, which are her husband's favorite way to eat them.
McCann's booth, Morchella's Mushrooms, will have the giant vegetables again July 6.
Our recipe this week includes a lot of steps but employs some fun techniques, such as quick-pickling and pureeing nuts. You can find the more unusual ingredients, including mirin, dashi, dried mushrooms and rice vinegar, at local ethnic markets, and you can do most of the work ahead of time.
The recipe comes from New York chef David Chang, known for his inventive cuisine at Momofuku Noodle Bar, among other restaurants.
Recipe: King Oyster Mushrooms with Pistachio Purée
For pickled Jerusalem artichokes:
• ½ pound Jerusalem artichokes, also called Sun Chokes
• 1 cup water
• ½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
• ½ cup sugar
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ¾ teaspoon shichimi togarashi, which is Japanese seven-spice blend
For pistachio purée:
• 1 cup shelled roasted pistachios
• 5½ cups water, divided
• ¼ cup mirin, which is Japanese sweet rice wine
• ¼ cup instant dashi powder
• 8 radishes
• 1 spoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1½ pounds king oyster mushrooms
• 1 (3½-ounce) package enoki mushrooms
• 6 to 7 tablespoons canola oil, divided
• ¾ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 garlic cloves, smashed
• 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
• Garnish: microgreens or mesclun; flaky sea salt; pistachio oil
Pickle Jerusalem artichokes:
Peel artichokes and cut into-inch-thick sticks, then transfer to a nonreactive heatproof bowl. Bring remaining artichoke ingredients to a boil in a small nonreactive saucepan, stirring until salt has dissolved, then pour over artichokes. Cool to room temperature, keeping vegetables submerged with a small plate. Transfer with liquid to an airtight container and chill, shaking occasionally, at least one day.
Make pistachio purée:
Cook pistachios in 2 cups boiling water in a small saucepan 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain again and peel off skins.
Bring mirin, dashi powder and 3 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until powder has dissolved, then add pistachios and simmer, stirring occasionally, until nuts are very tender, about 1 hour. Drain nuts, discarding dashi, then reserve cup nuts for garnish. Purée remaining nuts with remaining ½ cup water in a blender into a very smooth but thick paste.
Trim radishes, then cut each into 6 wedges. Toss with sugar and kosher salt in a bowl until sugar and salt have dissolved.
Prepare mushrooms and assemble dish:
Trim oyster mushrooms, keeping stems intact, then cut lengthwise into ¼-inch-thick slices. Trim enoki mushrooms, leaving 3 inches of stem, and reserve for garnish.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add enough oyster mushrooms to cover skillet in one layer, then sprinkle with teaspoon kosher salt and teaspoon pepper and sauté, turning once, until golden on edges, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Sauté remaining oyster mushrooms in 5 or 6 more batches, using 1 tablespoon oil, teaspoon kosher salt and teaspoon pepper per batch.
When all oyster mushrooms are sautéed, return to skillet, then add butter and garlic and heat, swirling skillet, until butter is melted. Add vinegar and boil, stirring, until evaporated. Remove from heat and discard garlic.
Divide pistachio purée among plates, then top with oyster mushrooms. Remove artichokes from container with a slotted spoon and arrange, along with radishes, around oyster mushrooms. Sprinkle with enoki mushrooms, greens, reserved pistachios, and sea salt.
• The pickled artichokes, covered and chilled, keep for two weeks.
• The pistachio purée can be prepared as far as two days ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Bring the purée to room temperature before serving.
• Radishes can be prepared four hours ahead and kept at room temperature.
• The mushrooms can be cooked up to two hours ahead and chilled, then reheated in a skillet before serving.
Recipe courtesy of epicurious.com