Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pea and Porcini Crostini

I don't think any of these photos can do justice to how delicious this was. I'm just putting that out there, before I start my usual rant. This was my lunch last Saturday, fresh from the Dom Markt. It was originally going to be my breakfast, but then I saw the sweetcorn, and my priorities shifted a little.

I found these mushrooms, not clearly named and looking woodsy and delicious, at a stall that I don't often visit. I wasn't sure what they were, but had some sort of gut-instinct that they were Chestnut Mushrooms. I've since discovered (thanks to Google Image Search and HunterAnglerGardnerCook) that they are, in fact, a species of Boletes that we Australians like to call Porcini. It's just how we roll in Adelaide - using the Italian name because they're most likely to turn up in one of our squillions of Italian Restaurants. It makes sense.

I've only encountered dried Porcini before, when I bought a bag in Siena, Italy. They were incredibly rich, and I only needed the tiniest amount to add a musty depth to my dishes. The fresh ones are richer than your standard Swiss Brown, certainly, but they're not as overbearing as the dried ones can be. (I've definitely had a few dishes that became disappointing after some over-zealous chef added too many dried Porcini. They get a bit panicked when you ask for something without cheese, I think!) If they're older than a day or two, I'd recommend removing the sponge (where you would find gills on other mushrooms) because they can get a little slimy.

I also took another shortcut in this recipe. I didn't have any good ciabatta, but I did have a couple of fresh rolls. So I just used those. I'd still recommend toasting a slice of ciabatta and rubbing it with garlic, but don't waste fresh bread if you've just got it sitting around. Versatility is always appreciated in my cooking, and this combination of peas and mushrooms is also great with pasta, polenta, or as a risotto. Just name your mushroom and name your carb, and it goes from there.

I mushed my peas a little with a fork, so that they'd actually stay put on my bread. You don't want them to be a mash, but you also don't want them to roll off of your bread on the way to your mouth. That would only be disappointment, because the earthiness of the mushrooms is countered and refreshed by the sweetness of the peas. The next time you get your hands on some unfamiliar mushrooms, try this one out.
Pea and Porcini Crostini
4 thick slices ciabatta
1 lge clove garlic, finely diced or crushed
300g fresh porcini mushrooms
1 cup peas (frozen are fine)
1 tbsp basil, shredded
2 tbsp parsley, shredded
olive oil
salt & pepper

Saute the garlic in a little oil, until softened. Add the porcini and cook over a high heat, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and start to brown a little.
Meanwhile, cook your peas. Either plunge them into some boiling water for a minute, or microwave them. Mash them lightly with a fork.
Toast the bread. Rub it with a cut garlic clove, if you like.
Mix the parsley and basil into the mushrooms. Season with lots of salt, and even more pepper.
To assemble, put a quarter of the pea mix onto your crostini, then a quarter of the mushrooms, and top with extra salt, pepper or oil if desired.

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...