Friday, August 6, 2010

Cream of Porcini Farfalle with Fresh Herbs

Late summer is here, and the Porcini ('little pig' in Italian) is out in full force! For those of you whom have never heard, nor had the pleasure of tasting these tasty little morsels, the term Porcini (or 'Cep' in French) is typically referring to the Boletus edulis mushroom. Lucky for me, this mushroom is part of Colorado's typical mycoflora of the high Rocky Mountains. They are revered all over the world as one of the best culinary mushrooms known. This dish is an absolutely delicious treat that is full of deep woods flavor. The cream brings out the buttery flavor or the mushrooms and herbs give it a dark, earthy flavor that when combined is sure to please even the most particular of palates.

  • 2-3 cups fresh Boletus edulis (porcini mushroom) sliced into 1/8" thick slices. (if fresh porcini are not available in your area, substitute dry porcini slices instead)
  • Farfalle noodles (one box/bag, organic imported Italian are best)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped shallot or red onion
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt (to taste)
  • splash of good wine or brandy (optional)
  • 4 leaves fresh basil (large leaf Italian) and 2 sprigs lemon thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 cup or less freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp. light butter roux*
  1. Start by bringing a lightly salted pot of water to a boil and add Farfalle.
  2. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, add a few tbsp. of olive oil to a fairly large skillet and set to medium low heat.
  3. Add the chopped onion and cook until onions begin to caramelize, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add chopped garlic and thyme and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until garlic turns slightly golden.
  5. Add sliced mushrooms to the pan, making sure they are just one layer in the pan. Cook mushrooms a few minutes on either side, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. If adding wine, do so now, allowing it to bubble for a couple minutes. Add half and half, basil, and reduce heat to low.
  7. Allow this to simmer for several minutes, stirring constantly. Then remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon, and reserve in a bowl.
  8. Add roux and whisk until dissolved and sauce is thickened. (you may need to add more or less depending on how much cream sauce remains in the pan)
  9. Season sauce with pepper and salt to taste.
  10. Serve hot on top of the farfalle with cheese and a little more fresh herbs sprinkled on top.
  11. Enjoy this rare opportunity to enjoy these amazing fruits of the forest!
*To make a roux, warm some butter in a pan on low heat. Once melted add enough flour to soak up all of the butter in the pan. It should begin to bubble all over the surface of the butter. If not add a little more flour. Stir continuously with a wire whisk to keep it from burning on the bottom of the pan. After a few minutes, you should notice the flour turning a nice golden color. Once this happens, remove from heat and store in the freezer or refrigerator until needed.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spicy Indian Coconut Fish Curry

I just love this really simple, but delectable recipe I came up with on they fly one night when my mother was came over to my house for supper. When she arrived, I informed her much to her and my step-father's dismay, that I was making tilapia. "isn't that the fish you made that tasted like dirt?" she said to my stepfather. I assured her (even though I wasn't convinced myself) that the fish was going to be good tonight, and much to every one's surprise, it was delicious! It has changed a few people's minds about the dirty tasting tilapia. They even asked for the recipe, so here it is...

-coconut oil for cooking
-3 to 6 fillets of white fish (tilapia, mahi mahi, swordfish, etc)
-1/2 to 1 c. coconut milk
-1/2 to 1 tbs. garam masala
-1 tbs. dried curry leaves
-1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder
-1 tbs. fresh ginger or sushi ginger (gari), chopped
-1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
-2 to 3 tbs. finely chopped cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 350F.
Heat oil in an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add fish fillets, and without turning, sprinkle garam masala onto fish. Salt pan with half of your salt. Immediately put pan into preheated oven. Bake fish until white and opaque, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven (all the while remembering the pan handle is very hot) and add the curry leaves, coconut milk, cayenne or chili powder, ginger, black pepper, and the rest of your salt, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Serve with cilantro sprinkled on top with jasmine rice to accompany.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Coprinus Comatus Furai

AKA Rocky Mountain Vegetarian Calamari

First a few notes about Coprinus comatus, or more commonly known as the Shaggy Mane Inky Mushroom. Related to the infamous Alcohol Inky Cap, however without the nauseating effects if combined with alcohol, this mushroom is usually only available if picked in the wild. Unfortunately I cannot recommend picking your own mushrooms for the table, as this could be dangerous if the mushrooms in question are toxic. But with proper knowledge, mushroom picking can be a safe, fun, and best of all delicious experience. Check out some books on edible mushrooms, or better yet contact your local mycological society if you are serious about collecting mushrooms to eat.

- Optimally you want as many fresh Coprinus comatus as you can get your greedy hands on. Preferably 15-20 young mushrooms. You can also substitute these for dried Morels. Just reconstitute them 2 hours in milk or vegetable stock.
- 3 eggs
- 2 c. milk
- 2 to 3 c. panko bread crumbs
- 1 c. Flour (or try mixing half of your reg. flour with coconut flour for a more tropical flavor.)
-black pepper (to taste)
-vegetable oil for frying
-dipping sauce (see recipe)

Pre-heat oil to 350F in wok or deep pot with thermometer in oil.
Gently brush dirt from mushroom caps, and remove stems (they are 'usually' full of worms anyways... If not, frizzle up in oil of butter and put on toast for a real treat). Gently slice caps horizontally, starting from the bottom of the cap, into 1/4" to 1/2" thick rings. In one small bowl whisk eggs until just frothy. In another bowl add flour and pepper if using, in another bowl milk, and in yet another bowl or plate, the panko bread crumbs. Once oil is sufficiently hot, begin by taking one of the rings and submerge it in milk. Then move to the flour bowl, coating the ring in flour. Next dip ring into whisked egg, and finally coat completely with panko. Drop into oil and repeat, always checking your oil temperature and the color of the rings in the hot oil. Once each ring has turned golden on one side, flip and continue to fry until both sides are light golden brown. Remove to cool on paper towel. You can fry as many as you can fit in the wok reasonably without lowering the temperature of your frying oil. Serve furai immediately with dipping sauces. Some good recommendations are: Ponzu (soy and yuzu sauce), gyoza sauce, hoison, tamarind sauce, marinara, ketchup, garlic butter, poppy seed dressing, put 'em on burgers, or serve 'em with for a great alternative to onion rings! The possibilities are probably endless. I would always love suggestions!