There is a fabulous store at the farmers market that sells a fantastic array of mushrooms. Li Sun Mushrooms grow Swiss Brooms, Chestnut, Wood Ear, Shitake, Oyster, Shimigin, King Browns in an abandoned railway tunnel in the New South Wales Southern Highlands.
The constant temperature and humidity of the tunnels allows them to get a reliable crop all year round. They grow the fabulous funghi out the top of glass jars. I take great joy in selecting my favourites from him, but regularly get a little of everything on offer. My absolute favourites are the freshest of oyster mushrooms. Their ever so delicate flavour and texture excite me immensely. This week I bought:
- King Brown: have a very thick and tender stem with short cap and gills. They keep their form more than most other mushrooms during cooking
- Chestnut: one of the oldest species of cultivated mushrooms and have a strong mushroom flavour
- Oyster: there are several different colour/varieties of oyster mushrooms available, and they often stock several of these. But I mostly get the cream or pale grey coloured variety. I am always careful to cook them in a little butter, cap side first, then flipping them to ensure they get an even distribution of golden colour and the stem gets some attention from the heat. I adore their mellow flavour and silky texture
- Enoki: the tall, thin, straw-like mushrooms you often see in a bowl of Japanese noodle soup. They have a mild flavour. I primarily include them for their shape and texture
- Shimeji: grow in bunches joined at the base of the stems. They have a meaty taste and tender texture
There are a range of delicious things I like to do with these mushrooms. I always keep it simple, highlighting the flavour, texture and diversity of the funghi. This morning I simply sautéed them in a little butter and ground black pepper and served them on some white sourdough toast with some fresh goats cheese. The trick is to not overcook the mushrooms, but allow them to turn gold in parts and maintain their texture as much as possible. For the cheese, I used the delicious ‘Allegro’ from Capra, but I know the marinated goat cheese from Meredith Dairy, that is more widely available, would also be fabulous. I spread/sliced the cheese onto the bread, sprinkled over some fresh thyme leaves, piled on the mushies and drizzled over a little olive oil and verjuice. Heavens, it was delicious.