Monday, 18 August 2008

The wild larder, mushroom hunting and a risotto

When I go out for bike rides around Leicestershire as I regularly do, There is a particular lane which is shaded by trees where no one ever goes. It is one of my favourite places to ride, it's quiet, peaceful and beautiful.
Recently I have begun to notice something happening down MY lane, at first they were small and insignificant, I saw one or two little ones appear only to have vanished the following day. That all changed last week when I found this monster!
I'm talking about mushrooms and this one weighed in at a whopping half a pound!

Normally I am very cautious about eating any kind of fungi that I have found growing wild, as although I like mushrooms I'm not prepared to die for the pleasure of eating them!
This one however I could confidently identify as a common field mushroom, exactly the same as I would buy in a supermarket.
As I rode home with my find I was thinking of what I could make with it. It was such a special ingredient that I wanted a recipe that allowed the mushroom to be the star. At first I just thought of making a mushroom sandwich but then I had ideas of stroganoff, pasta and pizza. But finally I went for a simple risotto.

The results may not be pretty but they were certainly tasty, the mushroom flavour was allowed to come through loud and clear and was not obscured by other flavours as can often be the case. I thoroughly enjoyed this meal which was made all the more special by having found the main ingredient growing wild.
The Risotto I made was as simple as they get, onions and garlic were softened in butter as a base, to which I added Italian Arborio rice, white wine and stock. I fried the mushroom and added it at the end. The risotto was finished with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Wild food is abundant here at the moment, only today I have found wild plums, blackberries and apples so expect more posts to follow...

I have entered this post into a great event called grow your own. The idea is to feature dishes that people have made with food they have grown or raised themselves. Find out more here: Grow Your Own


Christina said...

It looks a bit like a portobello mushroom, too! That's cool how you found, all I find are... Non-edible green things and stuff.

Nice choice with the risotto, which I've never made (*hangs head in shame*). The consistency of yours looks really great!

Sylvie said...

Lucky you to find a monster mushroom like that. I have just moved into the middle of Manchester and am already missing my favourite places in Yorkshire where I could rely on finding brambles and sloe berries.

Sam said...

Christina: I find lots of nasty stuff too, I bought home some mushrooms last year to eat. It was only after I checked on the internet that I found out they were quite poisonous!

Sylvie: There must be brambles somewhere near you, they're everywhere in Leicester.
Out of interest what did you do with the sloes? I have a load of them in my freezer!

Andrea's Recipes (Grow Your Own) said...

Wow, that's one heck of a mushroom! And what a lovely way to use it, too. Welcome to Grow Your Own!