Mushroom essentials

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Few trivia you might not be familiar with:

Not quite animals, not quite plants, not quite bacteria either; fungi received their own classification since 1969. Not all fungi are mushrooms but all mushrooms are fungi. Mushrooms are the fruit or the flower of the fungi.

Humankind has a long history of the use of mushrooms; in Ancient Egypt, they were considered food for royalty and that no commoner could ever consume them. One of the healthiest foods you can eat; they have anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents, very rich in protein and essential nutrients as well. Not only are they, one of the most commonly bought foods in the UK but there more types of cultivated mushrooms available here now than there has ever been, too.

Few tips for getting the most out of this flavourful ingredient:

• Chefs recommend cleaning the mushrooms by peeling them. This makes the food lighter in colour and improves the flavour as well, as mushrooms are crunchier when cooked after peeling. Alternatively, clean them with a damp cloth. If you want to wash them anyway, avoid soaking them in water but ran them under a quick shower, instead.

• Remove the stems for a yummier result. You can always use those stems for broths with wine, herbs and vegetables in order to enrich risottos, soups or stews.

• Cook them in medium high –high temperature. Also, don’t overcrowd them for their liquid to evaporate. Otherwise, they will only simmer in their liquid. While cooking, make sure they have enough fat and add more, if needed. Not only do mushrooms absorb fat fast but, you’ll avoid burning them, too. We recommend using evoo, not only for the precious polyphenols but for the wonderful flavour, as well.

Creamy vinaigrette* marinated mushroom recipe

1. Prepare 3-4 cups of mushrooms and slice them into medium-sized pieces. We used pleurotous from Northern Greece but portobello or button mushrooms would work, too.

1. Marinate your mushrooms for at least an hour with evoo, salt and pepper, oregano, thyme, marjoram (if desired).

3. Sauté or Grilling time: you can use a skillet or a grilling pan for a better result. Sauté until mushrooms are slightly brown and all water has evaporated.

4. Prepare your vinaigrette by whisking 1⁄2 tbs mustard and 15ml water and preparing a loose mixture, initially. Next, put 10-15 ml vinegar at a slow pace and whisk in 30 ml evoo until the mixture is emulsified. Finally, sprinkle salt, pepper; add oregano, parsley and chives to taste. Dress your mushrooms and enjoy!

* A vinaigrette is a mixture of vinegar/ lemon, oil, mustard and herbs for flavour. Usually three parts oil to one part vinegar and a tbs of mustard. Feel free to experiment with the recipe and let us know how you get on!

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