IMG_0125This is a seasonal restaurant style starter for when you really have the time and want to celebrate the mushroom season. It can be planned and done the day before and then warmed through to serve. Preparation 1 hour.

4 people starter 

ingredients : wild mushrooms : Ceps / Girolles or pieds de mouton ( can use a mix ) 200g per person

jerusalem artichokes   300g

good white vinegar ( muscatel or chardonnay ) 200ml

sprig of thyme  and  12 coriander seeds

5 peppercorns  and  half a bayleaf

200ml double cream

50g grated parmesan

dessert spoon of white sugar

olive oil

For the Pickled mushrooms

Pickling should ideally be done the day before so that the flavours can infuse – but if you want to give this recipe a go dont loose sleep over it -you can still do on the same day.

First make the pickle liquid – warm the vinegar in a small pan ( not aluminium ) on a low heat ( do not let it boil ). Add the sugar to dissolve, and a couple of tablespoons of water then taste it should be a balance between sweet and sour – add more sugar to taste. The better the vinegar the less acidic it will be and you will need less sugar to balance it.  Then whilst it is still warm you add the aromatics – thyme / bayleaf / peppercorns / coriander seed . set aside to cool and infuse.

Second clean your mushrooms removing dirt with a dry brush and cut away any rot and slice them not too thinly – about 3mm which ever way looks nicest. Girolles are best just sliced in half. Then heat your nicest flat bottomed frying pan with a good film of olive oil and fry a few at a time to colour – do not just chuck them all in they need to be turned individually as each ones browns then set aside on a plate. Make sure you season whilst cooking with salt and pepper.

Third when the mushrooms are cooled put them in a tall container and cover with the pickled liquid. set the aside.

For the Jersualem artichoke cream

First – peel the J roots  and put them into water with the juice of half a lemon or a drop of vinegar ( to prevent them discolouring ). Then slice  them into 3 or 4 mm even slices so they will cook evenly.

second – in your best small heavy saucepan, chuck in the cream, the sliced  j-roots and salt and pepper. Bring it up to a gentle simmer – you might need to add a drop more cream just to cover.

Tip : when simmering you want to keep checking so that they dont stick – I use a roughly cut circle of parchment/silicon paper the size of the lid and wet it and scrunch it up then pop it over the simmering liquid inside the pan – this is a cartouche, which i use often in my recipes to keep the heat the steam the juices all in and allows you to see whats happening. Cook over a low heat and stir pretty regularly to check its not sticking. Cook until the artichokes are tender.

Third – chuck the parmesan in when its hot and blitz it with a hand blender to a fine cream. check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you need to.

Eating

Drain your mushrooms and allow them to come to room temperature.

You need to make a vinaigrette with 1 part pickle liquid to 3 parts olive oil. shake well.

Get a handful of really nice waxy new potatoes like charlotte and boil to just tender. Then you drain them whilst keeping them warm in your pan. Slice them thickly and and chuck the vinaigrette on them.

Now you arrange the mushroom slices over the warm potatoes on a plate. Spoon the warmed jerusalem artichoke cream on the side and add a few leaves, like friseé, rocket or watercress.

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