Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday Morning Mushroom Mania

I happen to love mushrooms -- love them. I'll saute them and put them into omelettes, stir them into cream sauces for pasta, eat them deep fried ... and I feel very deprived, because I don't get to eat them very often. Unfortunately, the men in my life -- Tom and Jeremy -- aren't fans. Jeremy will eat them on pizza, if there's enough cheese to bury them; and Tom defends himself that he likes white button mushrooms, but he won't eat anything stronger or more exotic.

So, what was I supposed to do when I received a box of dried mushrooms from Marx Foods in order to participate in their Blogger Mushroom Recipe Challenge??? (The Challenge involves creating a recipe, posting it, waiting to hear if it's been chosen as a finalist, then begging everyone to vote for it if it's been selected.) My goal, pure and simple, was to make something that Jeremy and Tom might take a bite of without then grabbing their throats, gagging, and pretending that they were about to keel over and die.

A wide variety of ideas meandered through my brain. I fixated for quite some time on a combination of mushrooms and figs: a sauce of fig jam with sauteed mushrooms, served over chicken or steak? A savory bread pudding with sauteed mushrooms, with dollops of fig jam swirled throughout and topped with a good Swiss or Parmesan? This notion is still calling to me, so stay tuned for further experiments.

And then the project veered towards something more familiar, a tweaking of comfort food. Meatloaf, perhaps? It's a favorite of both my "boys". But then my fevered brain went into overdrive again: mushroom gravy? marinara sauce with mushrooms? mix mushrooms into the ground beef, or combine them with cheese for an ooey gooey filling? Too many options, too many ideas, too little direction.

Then on Thursday morning, I read a New York Times article about food in Bilbao, Spain. Apparently "chef Eneko Atxa, who trained with Martin Berasategui, delivers a jolt: a 'reverse egg,' a yolk whose interior has been replaced with black truffle."

And that led to an epiphany: take out the yolk of a fried egg, replace it with a mushroom mixture of some sort, and create a yellow-ish sauce with the yolks to pour over the lump of mushrooms to resemble a yolk. It started to come together ... bacon, of course ... good cheddar ... toast ... possibly hash browns. I just needed to quit my job and rush off to cook. But alas, I had to wait until I got home despite enthusiasm and creativity swirling through me.

I soaked the porcini mushrooms until they were tender. I separated the eggs. I grated cheese. I chopped onions and bacon. I used up a lot of dishes and saucepans as I tinkered and tweaked, which precluded having any available space to make hash browns (though I definitely support Tom's idea to serve this on potatoes). I toasted some rye bread. And there it was -- my idea having come to fruition.

I plated the dish and brought it to Jeremy; Tom was at home that evening, so he wasn't available to be a co-guinea pig. Much to his credit, Jeremy didn't wrinkle his nose or roll his eyes at the presentation. And he didn't just sniff and nibble and refuse my offering.

He cut the egg in half and said that he thought it would be good to plop the egg onto the bread to make an open-faced sandwich.

And then he opened wide and bit in, as I waited anxiously for some semblance of a positive response ... or at least a polite and courteous negative response. In all honesty, I was waiting for him to start an Oscar-worthy performance as he retched and gasped for his last breath, accusing me of poisoning him.

But to my surprise -- actually, to my utter shock and amazement! -- this is what Jeremy said to me (edited slightly for a family-friendly audience):

"You know you're not getting any of this, don't you? This is f***ing DELICIOUS!!!"

So, there you have it -- my son's rousing and whole-hearted endorsement of a food he normally loathes and rejects. Mushrooms ... my son ate mushrooms. And he enjoyed them. He loved them! He refused to share them! And he devoured every morsel on his plate ... after eating a sandwich, no less. Jeremy was determined that we would have no mushroom left behind.

The recipe is going to seem more complicated than it actually is -- it's really very easy to put together. Whether you serve it for breakfast, for a light lunch or a supper is up to you. But do serve it. Either you'll be rewarding those who love mushrooms already, or you'll be converting those who don't realize that they do ....

Fried Eggs with Bacon and Mushrooms in Cheese Sauce

1 1/2-ounce packet Marx Foods dried Porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
3 strips bacon, chopped fine
1/2 small red onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup skim milk
4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded orange cheddar cheese
4 slices caraway rye toast, buttered, each slice halved

Break up the dried mushrooms and place them into a bowl.

Cover with the boiling water and let rest for 30 minutes.

Place the butter into a small saucepan and melt it over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until well combined, then whisk in the seasoned salt, salt and pepper.

Slowly whisk in the milk and the egg yolks until smooth, and bring just to a boil.

Lower heat to simmer, then whisk in the cheeses until smooth and thickened. Keep warm, stirring occasionally.

Drain and finely chop the mushrooms.

In a large skillet, saute the bacon for 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and saute for another 2-3 minutes, until the onions are tender. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes; place mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

In the same skillet, carefully place the egg whites so that they don't touch each other; it's easiest to do this 2 at a time.

Cook just until the outer portion is set but the center is still soft; place 1/4 cup of the bacon mixture over the center of each egg white.

Cook for 1 minute, then place one bacon-topped egg white onto each of 4 plates. Spoon a scant 1/3 cup of sauce over the mushroom mixture, to resemble the yolk of a fried egg. Drizzle any excess sauce around the plates once the eggs are ready.

Serve immediately, with toast. And if you have both the time and the inclination, placing the egg over some nice crispy hash browns would likely be a perfect touch.

Serves 4.

The Girl Creative



adrienzgirl said...

Very innovative! You little sneak you!

My boys are definitely not fans of mushrooms. At all.

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Rachel Cotterill said...

I've always loved mushrooms, and then a few months ago I started getting really bad stomach cramps whenever I ate them. I've just started experimenting again to find out if there are any varieties I can still eat safely.

Good luck in the contest :)

Angela said...

Rockstar! No fair cooking them with bacon...this looks soooooo good. I also love the savory bread pudding idea with the fig jam. Definitely post that if you do it!

Unknown said...

I too am a mushroom lover living with a mushroom hater...I can sympathize with you! This dish looks incredibly good and easy to make! I love it. What a fantastic way to use those 'shrooms!!

Erin Wallace said...

I Love mushrooms as well and am feeling jealous of Jeremy right about now . . .

xo Erin

Unknown said...

This looks like the perfect dinner for the "day after" Thanksgiving. Something that looks light but it's still rich with flavour.

Robin said...

I love mushrooms. It is the bacon and potatos that would be getting to me. I think you included those. One of my favorite sandwiches (very easy) is sliced portabello mushrooms (uncooked), sliced avacado, provolone or mozzarella cheese slice on a sandwich. Some people would add onion or other stuff here. Wrap in foil and bake in the oven until cheese melts. Then add lettuce and tomato if desired. It is sooo good.

Cranberry Morning said...

Good for you! Another success story! :-) My husband has always said that mushrooms 'taste like dirt.' I think your recipe sounds good. I also like to make a chicken in white wine with lots of mushrooms. When they're cooked, Kevin doesn't seem to object to them as much.

Keri said...

Ohhhh Wow! You did a flippin number on these. I can see how delicious they are. I think you have a more than excellent chance of winning. I'll vote for you for sure. You've been known to kick some serious ass in cooking/baking contests, right? I'm scared of you! Love this recipe, really unique and mouth watering! Fabulous. Keri

momgateway said...

amazing...can't get tired of mushrooms this way...

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