The first is the wonderful Oyster Mushroom:
How could you not love it's elegant lines, it's almost sensual curves - soft to the touch and quite tactile. They have a delicate, subtle flavour but are quite juicy when you bite into them. They absorb flavours easily and are best cooked quickly.
Oyster Mushrooms are good sources of Niacin, Riboflavin and Vitamin D. These days you'll also find them in a range of colours like pink, white, beige and
Next is a Japanese variety called Shimeji
and in the wild it's found growing on trees. They have a nutty yet delicate flavour and are a good mushroom to sauté. They are sold in clumps and to use you just cut the mushroom from the base.
Shimeji mushrooms are good sources of Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and Lysine - Lysine is an essential amino acid and Thiamine helps with circulation, blood formation and metabolism of carbohydrates. It also helps the nervous system and the brain.
In the recipe that follows I used one other mushroom, the Portobello - it's more flavoursome and resembles a Swiss Brown and thought it would be a good counterpoint to the other mushrooms.
But what did I make? A Bruschetta.
Mixed Mushroom Bruschetta with Goat's Cheese
Equal quantities of Portobello, Shimeji and Oyster Mushrooms
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
fresh lemon thyme leaves
freshly ground salt and pepper
Verjuice or White Wine
Thick slices of Crusty Bread - I used a Sour Dough Baguette and sliced it at a steep angle to get long slices
1 garlic clove, peeled, extra
Prepare the Bread:
Drizzle a little olive oil on the bread slices and set them on a heated grill to toast. I've mentioned this before but I use a grilled sandwich press to toast up the bread - I find that it eliminates all possibility of the bread burning, leaves wonderful grill marks and really dries the bread nicely to give it excellent crunch. Once toasted, take a peeled garlic clove and rub it over the toasted bread - this is the real secret to making authentic bruschetta.
Prepare the Mushrooms:
Portobello - whip off any dirt and keep the stem intact before cutting into thick slices
Oyster - depending on the size, you may need to cut the larger ones in half, otherwise just cook them as is
Shimeji - just cut them off from the base and use whole
Heat up a non-stick pan over a medium heat, drizzle in a little olive oil and add the red onion and garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently until the onion has softened. Add in the sliced Portobello, along with the fresh lemon thyme leaves and continue cooking until the mushroom wilts slightly and has begun to brown. Toss in the Oyster and Shimeji and keep an eye on the heat - you don't want the mushrooms to stew, you want to keep the pan fairly dry.
Near the end of the cooking time, you can de-glaze with a splash of Verjuice (or White Wine), keep the mushrooms moving to give them a nice glossy coating. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper and a few more fresh lemon thyme leaves.
Lay goat cheese pieces roughly over the toasted bread then top generously with the mushroom mix. The heat of the mushrooms will soften the cheese and bring out it's flavours. Serve immediately.
Naturally, you can use other mushrooms, use your favourites and whatever cheese you use, do use a good cheese - it is well worth it and the flavours are divine. This makes a great change from the everyday sandwich and coupled with a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc, an excellent reason to have a leisurely lunch.