Strictly for mushroom lovers – and if you’ve found some wild edible funghi (of the non-trippy variety), then this simple preparation is a lovely way to serve them as a side dish that goes with just about anything you like to serve mushrooms with. Otherwise baby portabella/brown chestnut mushrooms will do.
Those little cultivated clusters of what look like something the fairies would dance around would also be good but you wouldn’t need to slice the small ones.
You could also try replacing the fresh mint with some finely grated fresh ginger, but reduce the amount considerably as you don’t want it to overwhelm the ‘shrooms. Start with a quarter teaspoon and build from there.
You don’t have to use dried porcini as they can be quite expensive (unless like me you dry the ones you find and store them in an airtight container). I don’t really recommend dried shitake as they can be a little tough and musty-tasting but dried oyster mushrooms or another edible variety will do. Supermarkets sell them in little packets.
BRAISED WILD MUSHROOMS WITH MINT & GARLIC
(Serves 4 as a side dish)
2 oz (56g) dried porcini
1.5 lbs ( 0.7 kilo) of fresh mushrooms – or a combination cultivated and/or wild
4 tablespoons of extra-v olive oil
2 fat cloves of garlic, minced
2 sprigs of fresh mint and 3 tablespoons of finely chopped mint leaves
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a bowl, cover the dried mushrooms with very hot water and allow them to soak for 30-40 minutes. To strain and reserve the soaking water, tip the mushrooms and their liquid into a paper-towel lined strainer, over a bowl. Rinse the drained mushrooms, chop them finely and add them to the reserved soaking liquid. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a deep sauté pan and add the chopped garlic, mushrooms and sprigs of mint. Stir well to coat with the oil and continue to sauté, stirring frequently until the mushrooms have softened and released quite a bit of liquid.
Add the chopped dried mushrooms with all their soaking liquid to the pan, stir well to combine then cover the pan with a lid. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer for 20 mins.
Remove the lid, add most of the chopped fresh mint leaves, turn up the heat and continue to cook uncovered for another 5 mins or until you have just a couple of tablespoons of liquid left.
Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, pile the mushrooms into a warm bowl and sprinkle with the remaining chopped mint to serve.