Lobster. Porcini. Button. Chanterelle. Enoki. Shiitake. Morel. Oyster. The list goes on and on when it comes to mushrooms. There are so many varieties to pick from when you are cooking with edible fungi.
For our sixth EGS meeting, mushrooms were the theme of the evening. The cooks had to use them in both their appetizer and main. September was a great time of the year to hold the meeting because many mushrooms are in season that month.
Brendan kicked off the appetizer round by serving up mushroom caps stuffed with prosciutto, parsley, parmesan cheese and capers. I loved the crunch of the proscuitto; so yummy and salty. Kate paired the caps with Perroni, an Italian beer she found at Sherbrooke Liquor (the best place to buy beer in Edmonton).
Sabrina came next. She also served a mushroom cap but with a definite twist — escargot and the most incredible and decadent butter sauce I’ve ever tasted. She made it using curry and garlic. The cap was served on a white bean truffle puree crostini and garnished with parsley and enoki mushrooms. Aaron paired her dish with champagne.
I rounded out the appetizer round with a crispy lobster and porcini mushroom orzo ball served on a creamy button mushroom sauce. I sourced the lobster and porcini mushrooms from Edmonton’s 104th St. farmer’s market (which unfortunately closed for the season on Thanksgiving weekend). I came up with the dish after playing around with a mushroom orzo recipe for several weeks. Tim paired my main with a pom-tini.
For the main course round, Brendan went first again. He used bold Italian flavours again, cooking up gnocchi with oyster mushrooms, pancetta, parsley, red onion and percino cheese. Kate paired it with a crisp Italian riesling.
Sabrina carried on the Italian flavours with her main, a wild mushroom megdalioni (it was made using five types of mushrooms, including chanterelles and shiitakes) and a white truffle cream sauce. Aaron paired it with a Sex on the Beach cocktail made with lots of fresh fruit juices.
Rick Bayless’ wild mushroom queso fundido recipe inspired my main course dish. But instead of using dried porcinis, I used fresh. I also made burritos instead of soft tacos. I served it with a homemade roasted tomatillo salsa, sour cream and cilantro. Tim paired it with Dos Equis amber beer.
After all the plates were cleared, we scored the evening. Each dish and drink combo were scored on taste, originality and presentation. The competition was stiff, but I managed to pull out a win in both categories. I’ve been on a bit of a dry spell lately so the mighty and versatile mushroom was definitely a good luck charm for me in the kitchen.