Wild Mushroom Still Life
There was absolutely no way I could resist the fantastic selection of exotic mushrooms for sale at the Torrance Farmers Market. Chanterelles, Black Trumpets, Cordycep Militaris, Chestnut Royale, Wood Ear, Persimmon Enoki and Blue Foots to name a few… I paired them with Pink Peppercorns from my neighborhood trees to create a mysterious and colorful Wild Mushroom Still Life. Due to their psychedelic deep lilac colored stems, the Blue Foots just had to take center stage.
- blue foot (pied bleu) – highly perfumed aroma and flavor, cook before eating
- chanterelles – nutty with a fruity aroma
- cordeycep militaris – savory earthy-nutty flavor
- persimmon enoki – impossibly fruity!
- black trumpet – buttery woodsy smoky flavor
- chestnut royale – porous texture absorbs other flavors (like butter) well
- wood ear – crunchy gelatinous texture
After the photoshoot, what did I do with all those various wild mushrooms?
Sautéed Branzino with Cordycep Mushrooms
The simple preparation for this Mediterranean seabass allows the character of the delicate flesh to shine through. The edible skin is thin and crisp. The meat is moist, buttery, and uniquely silky. The cordycep mushrooms flavored with garlic and thyme add a dramatic presentation with nutty-earthy flavors. Lemon brings the acidic citrusy dimension while parsley adds fresh herbal notes.
How to Cook Branzino
- branzino, filleted
- salt and pepper
- wondra flour
- clarified butter
Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Dust with Wondra (finely milled) flour. Shake off excess flour. Let the fillets come close to room temperature before cooking.
Heat a non-stick pan with clarified butter over medium-high heat. When the butter is hot, add the fillets, skin-side down. Press the flesh of the fish with the back of a spatula to keep the fish from curling. Continue to press down with the spatula, squeezing out any air pockets between the skin and the flesh.
When the skin side is nice and crisp, turn the fillets over and briefly cook the other side. Serve immediately, crispy skin-side up.
How To Cook Cordyceps
- olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 sprigs thyme, stripped
- 1 c. cordycep militaris (loosely packed)
- parsley, chopped
Heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add thyme then add mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms briefly until soft and coated with garlic thyme oil. Season with salt. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Place cordyceps over the branzino. Serve with lemon wedges.
As for the rest of the mushrooms… we made the most exotic Mushroom Cheeseburgers.