The mushrooms are out! I picked a couple of handsome puffballs tucked under the safety of a huge yew tree this morning, and I just feel there's a huge season just about to explode. This really is the time of year when nature shows off some of her more wonderous creations.
A terrific Sunday brunch number here, and with the addition of a poached egg, an awesome start to a lazy day. I love this as it is, but if you’re at the right time of the year when wild mushrooms are in season, or your farmers market has some interesting varieties, do not hold back. Otherwise, good firm all year round varieties will hold up well enough.
Remove the bread element and throw the remainder of this recipe through hot pasta and there’s another dish to add to your repertoire too. Take the same ingredients and throw over a couple of cups of hot stock, cook for another 5 minutes then liquidise and you've got soup!
12 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tblsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
Few thyme sprigs, leaves only
1 garlic clove (unpeeled)
lightly crushed sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp caster sugar
14 oz sliced mushrooms
Few knobs of butter
Splash of sherry vinegar
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 thick slices of rustic white bread
Sauté the shallots in a pan over medium heat with the olive oil, thyme, garlic and seasoning for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften. Add the sugar and increase the heat to high. Stir and cook for a few more minutes until the shallots are lightly caramelised.
Add the mushrooms and butter. Fry for a couple of minutes until lightly browned, then splash in the sherry vinegar and add a little more seasoning. Cook for a minute or two until the liquid has evaporated. Toss in the parsley.
Toast the bread and place a slice on each warm plate. Spoon the shallots and mushrooms on top and drizzle with a little more olive oil to serve, if you like shave over some Parmesan too. I'm actually now pretty freezing, so the soup version gets the nod for lunch...