This week I've got another unusual subject
Is it some type of baseball mitt?
A misshapen hand of some sort?
Of course it is neither, it is a Japanese variety of fungus called snow cap mushroom.
The aren't all as interestingly shaped as these - they can in fact be almost saucer like in shape, such as this one
What attracted me to these mushrooms besides their appearance was their description - they taste like lobster. You slice them finely and cook them in butter for about 30 seconds, just brown each side and that's it - you treat them in the same way you would abalone.
So armed with one I headed home to try it out for myself. As this was just a test I only sliced a quarter of the mushroom, browned it in the butter and a word of advice, 30 seconds means 30 seconds. As soon as one side is brown, flip it over and that's basically it.
Eagerly I tasted a slice and yes, indeed, while not exactly like lobster, it did have the consistency and a taste that was lobster-like. Needless to say those testing slices disappeared very quickly and a few other snow caps have passed through my hands since then.
For this week's recipe, the snow caps do cry out for a simple solution. You don't want to bury them with sauces or other strong flavours - what you want is to enhance their flavour and make them the star of your dish.
So I've come up with a rather indulgent brunch or breakfast idea - a generous serving of sautéed slices of snow cap atop a good, crusty whole-grain baguette with a soft poached egg to crown its glory.
snow cap mushroom, finely sliced
whole-grain petit pain, partially split in half
soft poached eggs>
I love soft poached eggs but I understand that some can't stand them and in some places it isn't safe to have runny yolks. However, I must say that the yolk works so well with the slices of mushroom - they become pseudo toast soldiers soaking up that eggy goodness.
Petit Pain, the small French bread rolls are an excellent size for this dish. Cut them lengthways at a slight angle stopping before you cut straight through the roll. Pry it open to create a nest in while you can pile the sautéed snow cap slices.
In cooking the mushrooms be generous with the butter as it will be left in the skillet but you do need a good quantity in which to sauté the slices.
Once the butter has melted and is sizzling add the slices in a single layer - when you see that they are starting to colour, flip them over to brown the other side and then remove them immediately. Don't be tempted to cook them for any longer.
Pile the slices into the bread and top with the just poached egg.
My favourite part is jabbing the egg and watching the yolk spill out...
You could serve the mushrooms on scrambled eggs if preferred.
Before you ask, for those in Melbourne, if you hurry you can find these at Damian Pike's stall at Prahran Market.
Sautéed Mushrooms with Wasabi
Slippery Jack Omelette
Roasted Swiss Brown Mushrooms with Chèvre and Lemon Thyme
Fettucine with Mixed Mushrooms
Mixed Mushroom and Goat Cheese Bruschetta