This post is sponsored by the Australian Mushroom Growers Association.
It is not hard for me to come up with mushroom recipes. I could eat mushrooms in every single formation you can think of, except one.
When I was small, and I’d visit my nana’s house at Christmastime, a cooked breakfast among my mum and her six brothers and sisters was a necessity. My uncle, in particular, was a huge fan of mushrooms and would often come and have a chat to us kids while he ate, and we looked on, aghast. He had grey sludge on toast, dotted with little black lumps and I was horrified.
“OH GROSS!”, I’d say, wide-eyed. “What is that?”
“Mushrooms, they’re great!” my uncle would say. He was so enthusiastic and got a real kick out of my terror.
“Are you sure?” I said one day. “What do they taste like?”
“Smarties!” my uncle said. The smartass.
I couldn’t bring myself to try it, and I was wary of mushrooms from that day forward.
Now I couldn’t be farther from my mushroom-hating youth and I’m so pleased. I’m yet to convince my phobic mother, but I can make mushrooms taste like a religious experience.
I thought a lot about what kind of mushrooms to make for this post – mushroom fajitas, mushroom tarte tartin, mushroom salad, mushroom ceviche, mushroom crepes, mushroom burgers, mushroom risotto, mushroom pizza and mushroom fettuccine with truffle oil.
But it’s summer, it’s hot, I live outside with the barbecue and I have a lot of rocket. While stuffed mushrooms are pretty common, they are just so quick and easy and full of flavour. Of course you can top them with anything you like but in the interests of being healthy, I topped mine with lots of leafy greens, garlic and walnuts. With a little olive oil and parmesan for good measure. You can leave out the parmesan-style cheese to keep it vegan, which I’ve done before and I love.
Mushrooms are low in sodium, plus their umami counterbalances saltiness and allows for less salt to be used in a dish without compromising flavour. I also just found out mushrooms are a source of selenium and ergothionene, antioxidants that play a role in immunity. I did not even know ergothionene was a thing. I also didn’t know mushrooms are the only non-animal food to have natural vitamin D, a vitamin a lot of us are deficient in, especially if you live in cold climates. What I did know is they taste awesome and are incredibly versatile. And super-easy to grow! For more nutrition information, you can go here.
January has that slower pace just after Christmas (but is always the month that flies by the fastest, what’s up with that?!) and like I said yesterday, I’m all for dishes that don’t take too long, you can make a lot of in a short period of time and you can make them easily on a barbecue, which gives the mushrooms such a gorgeous crisp outside texture and smoky flavour. I like to take them to other people’s places for barbecues as they’re much nicer (in my humble opinion) than a veggie patty or sausage and I find people poke fun at me less if I’m tucking into a juicy mushroom burger. I don’t mind a bit of ribbing, but boy the jokes get old by about your first year of being veg!
So don’t be in the dark about what to barbecue this summer – barbecue a mushroom for goodness’ sake and thank me later.
Also the pesto makes a ton so it’s handy to have on hand for anything else you fancy… even a cooked breakfast that doesn’t look like someone threw up on your toast.
Do you have a favourite mushroom recipe?! Spill!