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Top Chef's Top Choices for 2012

Top Trends in the annual National Restaurant Association’s 2011 survey include Warm Appetizer Salads. We knew that! We’ve been singing the praises of mushrooms in salad for years, and among our favorites are wilted salads with baby spinach or other tender greens of your choice. Here are two recipes, one with Mediterranean roots, the other featuring Asian flavors.

The survey including almost 1,800 chef members of the American Culinary Federation. Other top-rated menu items including farm-branded produce. We are proud that all mushrooms that carry the Gourmet Mushrooms or MYCOPIA name are harvested right here at our farm in Sonoma County.

 

Wilted Salad with Sautéed Mushrooms and Hazelnuts

2 Tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup very thinly sliced shallots

4 – 8 ounces MYCOPIA mushrooms -- mixed or single variety, smaller mushrooms can be left whole, cut larger ones into bite-sized pieces.

12 ounces baby spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli rabe, or a mixture of these or other greens, torn

2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts, roughly chopped

 

Heat oil in a broad skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook gently for five to eight minutes adjusting heat so that the shallots do not brown. When shallots are translucent and soft add mushrooms and cook an additional five minutes. Add sherry vinegar, season and toss with greens. Top with chopped hazelnuts.

Notes:

  • If using sturdier greens, you may steam them in the pan with the mushrooms for two minutes. Baby spinach will wilt just from the heat in the mushrooms.
  • To prepare hazelnuts: Roast in 350º oven for about 10 minutes or until the skins begin to blister slightly. Remove from oven and wrap immediately in a kitchen towel. Let sit for a couple of minutes, then rub vigorously while keeping them wrapped in the towel. Most of the skins will be rubbed off and will stick to the towel, making it easy to remove the nuts. Allow hazelnuts to cool, then chop.

 

Asian Mushroom Salad with Lean Pork

 

2 Tablespoons mild vegetable oil

4 – 8 ounces MYCOPIA mushrooms -- mixed or single variety, smaller mushrooms can be left whole, cut larger ones into bite-sized pieces.

6 ounces lean leftover pork (from roast or chops) cut into slices across the grain and then into thin strips about an inch and a half long

1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar (unseasoned)

½ teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger root, grated (optional)

6 ounces, about 4 cups, mixed baby lettuces – Arugula, frisée and baby spinach

 

Heat vegetable oil in broad skillet on medium high. Add mushrooms, whole or sliced, Cook 3-5 minutes on high. Add ginger and remove from heat.

 

Whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Toss dressing with sliced pork to coat evenly.

Add pork and its dressing to the still-warm mushrooms and toss with salad mix. Serve immediately - there will be a pleasing contrast of cool and warm. If desired garnish with green onion slivers or sliced almonds. Serves 4.

 

NOTE:

Rice Vinegar comes in two styles, plain and seasoned. The seasoned variety has both salt and sugar added. If you only have seasoned rice vinegar, then eliminate the sugar and cut the soy sauce to one teaspoon.