Steve Drake’s indulgent penny bun mushrooms on toast recipe
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Try this easy winter recipe for penny bun mushroom while they are still in season
November often passes us by. The month before the festive period gets very little love; the nights draw in, the weather is damp and wet, and we begin to retreat indoors. While we hunker down and keep ourselves toasty with hearty and wholesome food, the autumn season sees the perfect condition for mushrooms to grow, specifically penny bun mushrooms.
The penny bun mushroom, known as porcini by the Italians, ceps in France, and boletus edulis in Latin, is a chunky-looking mushroom with a cap that really looks like a well-baked bread roll. Fantastically flavoured and highly sought after, these
mushrooms boast a firm nutty texture when young, but become soft and woolly with age.
At Sorrel, we’re lucky to be surrounded by leafy woodland areas that are abundantly covered in groups of penny bun mushrooms. My advice for foraging a bounty of the best penny bun mushroom is head out two days after the rain, when the ground is moist and the mushroom flavour is enhanced.
Be careful what you pick as some of them are poisonous, so it is best to do your research before and if in doubt, leave to the experts. When looking for mushrooms, look for a sturdy barrel or clubshaped stem with a domeshaped cap surface that’s a very pale brown, almost white/ grey. Be delicate, they can break quite easily.
We pride ourselves on creating seasonal menus that highlight the best British produce found on our doorstep and we’re always coming up with inventive ways to elevate the humble penny bun mushroom. It can be used in a huge variety of dishes, and they make a delicious side to accompany meat or fish. A casserole is a crowd-pleasing autumnal dish that requires very little effort. Equally, you can slice penny buns very thinly, keep them raw and scatter them over beef tartare and dust with a little bit of cocoa powder for a fuss-free starter.
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Mushrooms can be bought frozen and used to liven up just about anything savoury: simply use them in a juicer, take the juice and simmer it down, add milk and bring back to the boil to be simmered again. This creates a very comforting sauce to serve with some roasted fish and a punchy parsley and garlic pesto.
I’ve been coming up with my own ways of cooking with penny buns, pushing the boundaries of a sweet and savoury crossover. Mushrooms go really nicely with chocolate, and a chocolate and penny bun ganache is something we are working on. I have no doubt that it’s going to taste delicious.
This recipe is the perfect antidote for you to cook at home on a cold weekday evening and delivers unrivalled flavours, depth and nourishment.
INDULGENT PENNY BUN MUSHROOMS ON TOAST
• 250g penny bun mushrooms
• 50g butter
• 1 clove of garlic
• Sprig of thyme
• 125ml double cream
• 125ml vegetable stock
• Flat parsley to garnish
• 1-2 slices of bread of choice, toasted
Start by brushing soil off the mushrooms with a dry brush and very briefly wash them.
Cut into large chunks and caramelise in a few knobs of butter with a sprig of thyme and half a clove of garlic until a lovely orange colour. Constantly turn to avoid them sticking and disintegrating.
Once golden, drain off the fat and add in equal quantities of vegetable stock and double cream. Bring to a simmer and reduce until the sauce coats the back of the spoon.
Throw in some roughly chopped flat parsley and garnish generously with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
It’s delicious on toast. If you wish, top with a poached egg. It’s perfect any time of the day.
Sorrel can be found at 77 South Street, Dorking, RH4 2JU. Check sorrelrestaurant.co.uk for December opening times.