ACCORDING to the website Days Of The Year, this coming Sunday, October 15, is National Mushroom Day. Originating in Australia (and probably mostly recognised in the US where they have national days for everything you can imagine; however, there is no reason not to celebrate here in South Africa), National Mushroom Day is particularly meant for mushroom farmers, restaurants, cafes and health professionals to enjoy and celebrate everything related to growing and eating mushrooms, it says.
“Not only do mushrooms offer a delicious flavor when eaten on their own or added to various dishes, they are also one of the most sustainably produced foods on the planet. So no one needs to feel guilty about filling up on them!
“Plus, mushrooms are low in calories and contain a wide variety of nutritious substances that are part of a healthy and balanced diet for humans. So eat a lot of mushrooms and eat them often.”
Here, for your mushroom enjoyment, are two new recipes from the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association.
BAKED FISH ON MUSHROOM RISOTTO
- 100g butter, softened
- 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
- 1 small bunch / 10g parsley, very finely chopped
- 1 lemon, zested, plus 1 Tbsp juice
- 6 x ± 200g portions sustainable white fish e.g. angelfish, yellowtail, deep-water Cape hake
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 500g portabellini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, very finely minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 300g arborio rice
- 250ml dry white wine (optional, can also use de alcoholised wine or extra stock)
- 1 litre mushroom, vegetable or chicken stock, kept warm
- Zest & juice of 1 lemon
- 40g Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus more for serving
- Micro herbs, for garnish
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 200ºC with the fan on.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Combine the butter, garlic, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine.
- Place the fish onto the lined baking tray.
- Spread some garlic and lemon butter onto each piece of fish.
- Place the prepared fish in the fridge to cook just before serving.
- In a deep, large sauté pan, heat the butter and olive oil.
- Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the excess moisture has evaporated and mushrooms are well browned.
- Add the onion and celery, and cook gently until softened but not brown.
- Add the garlic and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until tender.
- Add the rice and turn up the heat.
- Cook for 1 minute to coat the rice in the oil and toast it lightly.
- Add the white wine and stir until completely absorbed.
- Start adding the warm stock one ladle at a time.
- Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.
- Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring frequently, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next.
- Keep adding and stirring until the rice is creamy and tender but a little al dente in the centre.
- Switch off the heat and add the parmesan, lemon zest and juice.
- Stir through well.
When the rice has a few minutes left, place the fish in the oven.
- Bake for 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
- Scoop the risotto into warm bowls, top each with a portion of fish and finish with micro herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice.
LEMONY BAKED CHICKEN IN MUSHROOM SAUCE
6 chicken thighs, skin on & bone in (this will deliver the juiciest chicken. Reduce baking time if using chicken breasts or deboned thighs)
- 500g white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
- 125ml dry white wine / de-alcoholised wine or extra stock
- 250ml chicken stock
- 1 large bunch fresh tarragon, leaves removed from stems (if you can’t find fresh, substitute one teaspoon of dried tarragon for every tablespoon of fresh tarragon)
- Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- 250ml sour cream
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Olive oil, for cooking
- Lemon wedges
- Green salad
- Brown & wild rice
- Preheat oven to 200˚C.
- Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper.
- Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a deep ovenproof frying pan or buffet casserole.
- Brown the chicken well until deeply golden on both sides.
- Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the sliced mushrooms to the residual fat in the pan and cook on medium high heat until golden brown and they have released all of their moisture.
- Add the onion and cook until soft.
- Add the garlic and dried herbs and cook for a minute until fragrant.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine and reduce.
- Pour in the chicken stock and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer.
- Add half the tarragon, the lemon juice, zest and stir in the sour cream.
- Taste to adjust seasoning.
- Add the browned chicken thighs into the mushroom sauce, making sure to nestle them in so that just the golden skin is sticking out.
- Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken thighs, until cooked through.
- Scatter the remaining tarragon all over the dish and add a little extra lemon zest and juice for brightness.
- Serve straight out of the warm pan alongside a fresh green salad and wild rice.
HARISSA BUTTER ROASTED MUSHROOMS WITH SPICY LEMON YOGHURT
Quick pickled onions:
- 1 red onion, very thinly sliced
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 250ml plain double cream yoghurt
- 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp Aleppo pepper*
- Good pinch of sea salt
*Aleppo pepper is available at specialty delis / artisanal grocers / spice stores. If you cannot find Aleppo pepper simply substitute with 1 tsp sweet paprika and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. Mix together.
- 125g butter, softened
- 125g harissa paste
- 12 large portobello mushrooms
- Store bought flatbread / naan or pita
- Fresh coriander
- Lime wedges
For the quick pickled onions:
- Combine all the ingredients in a glass jar and give it a good shake.
- Make sure the onions are submerged.
- Leave at room temperature while preparing the rest.
For the yoghurt sauce:
- Combine all the ingredients together and taste to adjust seasoning.
- Keep in the fridge until serving.
For the mushrooms:
- Stir the softened butter and harissa paste together until well combined.
- Taste the harissa paste you are using for seasoning – you may or may not need to add a little extra salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 200°C with the fan on.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
- Place portabellos on prepared tray and brush generously with harissa butter.
- Roast for about 7-10 minutes or until just tender.
- While the mushrooms are roasting, warm or toast some flatbread and prepare the other toppings.
- Serve harissa butter mushrooms piled onto warm flatbread with generous dollops of the spicy lemon yoghurt.
- Scatter everything with fresh coriander leaves and pickled onions.
- Squeeze over some fresh lime juice and enjoy!