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When she’s not squid jigging, fishing, or cavorting through the woods picking wild things for her next meal, Becky Selengut is a private chef, an author, a humorist, and a cooking teacher. A regular instructor for PCC Natural Markets since 2004, Selengut is also an adjunct professor in the culinary/nutrition department at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washinton. Selengut is the author of Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast. In the near future, Selengut hopes to clone herself so she can find the time to do more fun things that other people call “work”.

April Pogue discovered her passion for wine while working with the Fifth Floor restaurant in San Francisco and its award-winning wine list. She has worked for Spago Beverly Hills, Seattle¹s Cascadia, Earth & Ocean, and Wild Ginger. Currently she is the sommelier and dining room manager of Loulay in downtown Seattle. April teaches classes on food and wine pairing for charitable functions, PCC Cooks, and has taught students from the Culinary Institute of America. She also contributed the wine pairings for Selengut’s first book.

Clare Barboza is a Seattle-based food photographer with a passion for documenting how food goes from the farm to the kitchen to the table. She has photographed over a dozen cookbooks and regularly shoots for various publications, restaurants, and chefs. Clare also leads a variety of photography workshops out of her studio in downtown Seattle.

The button mushroom better make room on the shelf. Home cooks are now buying previously obscure mushroom species from supermarkets as well as growers and gatherers at local farmers’ markets, and adventurous chefs are collecting all manner of edible mushrooms in the woods. But now that they have these uncommon mushrooms, home cooks and chefs alike are asking themselves, “What do I do with them?” Chef Becky Selengut’s SHROOM is an educated guide to the basics of cooking everything from portobellos, morels, chanterelles and the increasingly available maitake, oyster, and beech mushrooms.

Information packed, friendly, and down-to-earth, SHROOM is for cooks who want to begin adding mushrooms to their diets, find new ways to use mushrooms they already love, or diversify their repertoires with mushroom-accented recipes inspired from Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese cuisines, among others. Interesting flavors include Maitake Tikka Masala, King Trumpet and Tomato Sandwiches with Spicy Mayo, and Hedgehog Mushrooms and Cheddar Grits with Fried Eggs and Tabasco Honey. The level of difficulty of the five recipes in each chapter progresses throughout the book.

Becky Selengut delivers fifteen species-specific chapters on mushroom cookery with the same levity and expertise she brought to the topic of sustainable seafood in her IACP-nominated 2011 book, Good Fish. Selengut’s wife, sommelier April Pogue, once again teams up to provide wine pairings for each of the seventy-five recipes.

Portobello Shakshuka with Baked Eggs and Israeli Feta

Serves: 4

Pairing: Italian Chianti Classico

Shakshuka

 

Shakshuka, despite what it might sound like (some say it is derived from the Hebrew word leshakshek, meaning “to shake”), is not some awesome new dance, though it might inspire you to create one. Shakshuka has its roots in North Africa and is very popular in many Middle Eastern countries. Tunisian Jews supposedly brought this dish to Israel, where it became popular. It’s the best kind of dish—simple, soulful, healthy, and satisfying. I added portobellos to make this dish “meatier” and mushroom stock to increase the savory quality (increasing the umami factor). Look for portobellos with deep cups to better hold the eggs. All you need is a big cast-iron skillet, some bread, maybe a side salad, and a glass (or bottle) of red wine. Feel free to improvise with this basic recipe.

For instance, sometimes I like to add mint in addition to the parsley. Traditionally, you’d fry chiles along with the onions, and that is also wonderful. I’m sure I speak for Israel when I say: Thank you, Tunisian Jews. Thank you.

Spice Mix
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (substitute sweet paprika)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed and gills scraped out (10 to 12 ounces total)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 small yellow onion, small diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup Mushroom Stock (below)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, with juices
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
4 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 ounces French or Israeli sheep’s milk feta
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Pita or naan bread, warmed, for serving

To make the spice mix, in a small bowl, combine the cumin, cayenne, paprika, and salt. Set aside.

In a heavy 12-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, set over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the portobellos, stem side down, and cook until they start to wilt and brown a bit, 4 to 5 minutes.

Turn the mushrooms over, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until you get some browning on the cap side. Transfer from the skillet to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet. Warm the oil and then add the onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften, and then add the mushroom stock. Bring the stock to a boil, lower the heat so the stock simmers, and continue to cook until all the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, and spice mix and sauté until the garlic and spices smell fragrant and the tomato paste has darkened a bit in color, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and sugar, if using. Increase the heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Tuck the mushrooms into the sauce, stem side up. Simmer for 5 minutes longer. Carefully crack an egg into each mushroom “saucer.” Season the eggs with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and a generous sprinkling of black pepper. Sprinkle the feta carefully around the eggs but not right on top of them. Cover the pan and cook until the eggs reach your desired degree of doneness. (I like this dish with runny yolks, but some folks will want to cook it longer to set the whole egg.) Garnish with the parsley and serve with warm pita.

Mushroom Stock
You will not be sorry you took the time to make your own. As you cook and are busy prepping vegetables and such, e.g., carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, parsley, and thyme, rather than toss or compost the carrot tops and peels, celery ends and leaves, onion ends and cores, shiitake and button stems, thyme and parsley stems, and any other produce bits you collect, save them. (Skip vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, or anything with a dominating flavor or color that you wouldn’t want in a mushroom stock—no beets!)

To make the stock, add these vegetable scraps to a quart-size resealable plastic bag that lives in the freezer. When the bag is full, you are ready to make your stock. At the market, pick up a small onion, some dried porcini, and a handful of fresh shiitake mushrooms. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Drizzle a little high-heat oil on a rimmed baking pan. Throw the shiitakes, along with the chopped up onion, onto the pan, and toss with the oil. Roast until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Deglaze the pan with a little wine or water, scraping up any brown bits stuck to the pan. Dump the mushrooms and onions, along with the liquid, into a stockpot along with the contents of that freezer bag (no need to thaw) and a few rehydrated pieces of dried porcini (along with the strained soaking liquid). Cover with 3 quarts water, chuck in about 5 peppercorns, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Pour the contents of the pot through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. You should end up with about 2 quarts mushroom stock. Want to make vegetable stock? Do the same thing, but just use fewer mushrooms and more vegetables (and a big flavor bonus if you roast some of the vegetables as you would the shiitake and onion). If you want to make mushroom stock but don’t have a full bag of trimmings in the freezer, just use an assortment of vegetables and mushrooms (equaling roughly 1 quart) and follow the same general procedure.

See the video on making shroom stock at www.shroomthecookbook.com.

Note:If you end up purchasing mushroom stock for the recipes in the book that call for homemade, you’ll want to start with less salt in your recipe and adjust as you go so that you don’t oversalt the dish.


 

Porcini Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemon Salt

Serves: 4 as an appetizer

Pairing: Austrian Grüner Veltliner

Porcini Salad

 

This is a deceptively simple composed salad that really highlights the versatility of porcini. When thinly sliced and roasted—but not overly so—porcini can be subtle, delicate, and sublime. The heat is applied lightly here, so that you can appreciate the subtlety of the dish, while the pine nuts echo the nuttiness and depth of the porcini and the lemon zings it up an octave.

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
1 pound fresh porcini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 inch thick (cap-through-stem slices)
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (save lemon halves for squeezing on salad)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (below)
1 stalk celery (see Note), shaved paper-thin into half-moons on a mandoline (leaves cut into chiffonade and reserved for garnish)
About 1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano (use a vegetable peeler)
Fresh chervil leaves, for garnish (substitute small flat-leaf parsley leaves)

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper and brush with olive oil.

Lay the porcini slices on the parchment. Brush with more olive oil. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the salt over the top. Roast until lightly browned in spots, 15 to 25 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.

In a spice grinder, pulse the red pepper flakes, lemon zest, pine nuts, and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt to a chunky consistency.

Arrange the cooked porcini slices on plates. Sprinkle the celery over the mushrooms. Drizzle olive oil over the salads (1 to 2 teaspoons, but you don’t need to measure), followed by a squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle the pine nut mixture over the top. Garnish with cheese shavings and celery and chervil leaves.

Note: Try to take off as many celery strings as you can prior to shaving the stalk on the mandoline (otherwise, they get caught in the blade). Use a paring knife—starting at the top, grab the strings between your thumb and the side of the knife and pull downward, stripping them off. If you don’t have a mandoline, use a very sharp knife and cut the celery as thinly as you can manage.

Toasting Nuts: There are a few ways to toast nuts. If you watch carefully, you can do it in a skillet on the stovetop, but I find the easiest and safest way to go is to preheat your oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and pop them into the oven. Pine nuts really enjoy burning (they’re evil), so keep a close eye on those and check after 4 to 5 minutes. Ditto for sliced almonds. For the bigger nuts (whole almonds, walnuts, and others), take a peek at them after 8 to 10 minutes.


 

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from Shroom: Mind-bendingly Good Recipes for Cultivated and Wild Mushrooms by Becky Selengut. (Andrews McMeel; September 2014; $35.00/Hardcover; ISBN-13; 978-1449448264). http://www.andrewsmcmeel.com/

Contact: Andrea Shores
816.581.7499
ashores@amuniversal.com 


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