One of the subjects I thought I might tackle on Eat This, Drink That are food aversions by which I don’t mean food intolerances but ingredients, dishes or drinks that people dislike, often intensely.
Some like andouillette or tripe I’m not sure you can come round to - at least I’ve tried and can’t. Other ingredients like coriander/cilantro are just hard to disguise.
In general though I firmly believe it’s possible to learn to love the ingredients you loathe. (Remember those things you disliked as a child?) Often it’s a question of trying them in another form - raw rather than cooked, say, or whizzed into a purée or dip.
In the case of mushrooms - as with aubergines - I suspect it’s the slimy texture that puts people off, generally caused by cooking them at too low a temperature and not letting the resulting liquid evaporate off.
Here are my suggestions but maybe the former mushroom-loathers among you would like to pitch in:
Fry them fast. In butter. Without turning them for the first few minutes. Heat the pan up first. Add a splash of oil, then the butter and chuck in the ‘shrooms. (Apparently it’s better if you tear rather than slice them. Never heard that)
An obvious suggestion but blitz them into a soup to get the mushroomy taste without the texture. This is a favourite of mine I put in my book An Appetite for Ale which you can buy for peanuts on Amazon.
Make mushroom ‘caviar’ which is basically a creamy mushroom dip with sour cream or crème fraîche. Jane Grigson has a recipe in her book the Mushroom Feast.
Mushroom duxelles is another paté-like recipe which might convert you. It’s finely chopped and cooked down mushrooms with onion or shallot - that again feels more like a spread, only more intense than the caviar. Really delicious. You often find a layer in a Beef Wellington. There’s a recipe here.
Try them dried. Even soaked, porcini don’t have the same slithery texture as a button mushroom. Better still, for the mushroom-averse, buy them as a powder like the bizarrely named Shake O’Cini which again you can find on Amazon although it’s actually cheaper in some independents like Melbury & Appleton. Or Waitrose does a porcini paste which you could use in a pasta sauce or risotto
Eat them raw. Ceps are often served this way. Just dress them with good olive oil and a few shavings of parmesan or make more of a salad of them as Jamie Oliver does here.
Eat them in ravioli or dumplings like the Polish pierogi. Tesco surprisingly has a recipe although you can also buy them ready-made in store - and in other supermarkets, come to that. Or find a Polish restaurant that does them. Ognisko and House of Feasts were voted tops by the Twitter community when I asked them and House of Feasts even sells them online (Sorry, went down a bit of a pierogi rabbit hole there.)
Would these suggestions win you round? If not what has worked for you? Do share and also let me know if there is any food or drink you wish you liked more. I’ll feature them here.
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