I grew up with a grandmother who believed that you should "never let anyone be as wise as yourself". In other words, never tell others everything that you know. But today I am disregarding that advice completely and giving you one of my favourite cooking secrets. This is a recipe that is as good and nearly as easy as the amazing Tetsuya avocado soup. Brace yourself for one of those recipes that is so unbelievably simple that it needs to be tasted to be believed. One that you will use again and again (unless your cardiologist is coming for dinner...). In my opinion it is a bit like a warm embrace, and this has been a week for warm embraces. But back to the mushrooms...
"Secret" may not be quite the right word for this mushroom ragout, since this recipe is on the ABC website, the Lifestyle Food website, and on various other sites. It comes from Kylie Kwong's book "Heart and Soul", and she attributes it to the Manfredi clan of Sydney restaurant fame. Kylie Kwong describes it as symbolic of the Manfredis : "down-to-earth, full of substance, elegant, vibrant and comforting". Kylie suggests serving with crusty bread, or as a side dish to accompany roasted poultry or meat. I also think it is beautiful tossed through pasta. And if you can't get all the varieties of mushrooms, feel free to experiment a little. Part of the joy of this recipe is the mixture.
I really like Kylie Kwong's "Heart and Soul" cookbook, and have very happily tried a lot of the recipes it contains. Unfortunately Kylie Kwong gets a hard time on some of the local blogs for not being "Asian" enough (and it really disgusts me that a whole lot of those commenting don't have the grace or the courage to post anything other than anonymous vitriol.) Lucky Kylie: she might not be Asian enough for some, but she is clearly Australian enough to be given a double serving of tall poppy syndrome. In my opinion, if the food tastes good, which these mushrooms undoubtedly do, then that should be enough.
Italian Mushroom Ragout
from "Heart and Soul" by Kylie Kwong
8 Garlic Cloves crushed
4 Onions trimmed & finely sliced
1 tablespoon sea salt
200 g fresh button mushrooms
100 g fresh oyster mushrooms
150 g shiitake mushrooms stems discarded
100 g swiss Mushrooms Brown
100 g fresh Mushrooms Enoki
100 g fresh black cloud ear fungus
125 g unsalted butter roughly chopped
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
cracked White pepper
½ cup Dry White Wine
½ cup roughly chopped Flat-leaf parsley
Place garlic, onions and salt in a heavy-based pan.
Cover with all the mushrooms except enoki and cloud ear fungus. Top with butter, olive oil and pepper and place over high heat for 5 minutes, without stirring, to allow the flavours of the onions and garlic to penetrate the mushrooms.
Add wine and remaining mushrooms, stirring to combine. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are just tender.
Stir in parsley and serve.
Serve as part of a banquet for 4–6