Cooking mushrooms seems to intimidate many people but with the right technique and seasoning, they can easily be prepared at home. Steven Satterfield of Miller Union provided valuable tips on how to sauté his favorite mushrooms and create simple appetizers and salads. He sautes mushrooms in olive oil and butter for the flavor and higher smoke point. He also let’s them sit in the pan to caramelize, steam, and soak up the butter. You only need to stir them once or twice when sauting.
This mushroom and Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill Camembert toast appetizer can be served in less than 20 minutes. All you need to do is place some sautéd mushrooms and slices of cheese on a buttered and toasted baguette, and then finish with a high quality salt, lemon zest and fresh herbs. These are the perfect bite size morsel for your holiday party.
Steven also showed how to preserve mushrooms since they have a very short shelf life of about a week in the refrigerator, less if you do not buy local and freshly picked. The brine to preserve the mushrooms can also be used in a light vinaigrette by whisking in a little mustard and extra virgin olive oil.
Some of Steven’s favorite mushrooms are Chanterelles, Oyster, Shitake, and Lion’s Mane and fortunately you can find most of them at your local markets and Whole Foods. Like Morels and Truffles, Chanterelles are very sought after by chefs and can only be found in the wild in mossy, coniferous forests so they are harder to find in the southeast and cannot be farmed, at least not yet.
Brian Simpson of Sparta Imperial Mushrooms spoke to the Morningside Market crowd about their farming techniques. They purchase saw dust from a neighboring mill and sterilize it before spreading the seeds. The mushroom’s mycelium network grows in the sawdust and the mushrooms bloom after 4 weeks of incubation.
Sparta grows about 300 pounds of mushrooms a week in greenhouses exposed to similar conditions as found in the wild. They spray water in the air to create a mist and regulate the temperatures around 68 degrees. They focus on Oyster, Shitake and Lion’s Mane mushrooms. The Lion’s Mane mushrooms are treasured in Japan and Asia. In the wild, they have enormous blooms and look like a mane with tons of whiskers.
Research has shown Lion’s Mane may be able to regenerate nerves and treat Alzheimer’s. Crusading mycologist Paul Stamets has been studying mushrooms and found they can remediate toxins in the soil and environment as well as possibly cure cancer. His mother was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer and Paul gave her “turkey tail” mushroom capsules to supplement her chemo drugs and she was cancer free 6 months later and is still today.
I need to reach out to him and see if he has any suggestions for neurological diseases like ALS, MS and Parkinson’s. Even though my father did not have the hereditary type of ALS, I may have been exposed to some of the same “triggers” so I would gladly take a mushroom pill a day for peace of mind as well as to remove any toxins and stay healthy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were that easy…. for now I will make sure I eat the Lion’s Mane at least once a week.
If you are not a mushroom fan, I hope all the health benefits will sway you toward incorporating them into your diet. My daughter does not like the texture so I grate mushrooms in soups and sauces which works sometimes. She may complain but I always remind her they make her happy and healthy and she has to eat them to get dessert. That usually does the trick.
Please let me know which of the Back to Organic salts are your favorite with this recipe and if you use some Italian Black Truffle Salt for a more intense mushroom flavor. I will be experimenting too to find the best combination.
Fall mushroom and Camembert toast
4 to 6 servings
“In the cheesemaking process, the bloomy white rind of camembert is formed after it is misted with an edible mold spore that is derived from mushrooms. These simple but elegant toasts unify the mushroom theme, pairing wild delicate chanterelles or other fall mushrooms with this soft-ripened cheese.”
1) Toast the bread and slice the cheese- Heat oven to 300 degrees. Arrange buttered baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake until crisp but not hard, 4 to 5 minutes. Divide the cheese among the warm toast slices. Let sit so the cheese slightly melts while you cook the mushrooms.
2) Cook the Mushrooms- In a medium-sized skillet over high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and then toss to coat. Leave mushrooms undisturbed for about 1 minute until lightly browned. Repeat on other side. Add shallots and garlic, toss to combine, and lightly season again with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute more, then add lemon juice and herbs and remove from heat.
3) Serve- Top each slice of toast with some of the hot mushroom mixture. Serve immediately.
Mushrooms are quite perishable when plucked from their delicate root system. This is a brilliant way to extend their life without losing any quality or flavor. I love these chilled and spooned over a warm toast with soft goat cheese but they are excellent with grilled steak or tossed into a salad with bitter greens.
1) Make the Preserved Mushrooms- Slice mushrooms into ¼-inch pieces and transfer to a medium bowl. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, white wine, and salt. Bring to a boil and then pour the hot mixture over the mushrooms. Add the lemon zest, chile and olive oil and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to a day prior to serving. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 4 weeks.
2) Serve- Add the mushrooms to a salad and use the brine in a salad dressing with more olive oil and a pinch of dry mustard. Or spread some fresh chevre onto warm toasts. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms from the brine and place on top of toasts. Garnish with fresh oregano.
- Steven Satterfield is the executive chef and one of the owners of Miller Union, rated one of the best restaurants in Bon Appetit, Southern Living and Esquire. In 2010, Miller Union was Atlanta Magazine’s “Restaurant of the Year” and The James Beard Foundation recognized Miller Union as a semifinalist for the national award of best new restaurant. In 2013, Steven Satterfield was named a finalist for Best Chef of the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation as well as nominated for Food & Wine magazine’s “People’s Best New Chef.” Steven has a book coming out in March of 2015. In his spare time, he can be found cycling or foraging for mushrooms and other hidden treasures.
- While studying bioremediation and environmental science at Auburn University, Brian of Sparta Imperial Mushrooms became fascinated with mushrooms and how they can clean the soil and environment. “He obtained a student position in the Plant Pathology Department’s Mycology Laboratory where he isolated plant pathogenic fungi into pure culture, identified species by microscopy, and produced micrographs for scientific literature. Brian manages Sparta Imperial’s culture library and spawn program and is our resident science guy. ” read more
- Paul Stemets has been asked to consult with companies and specialists remediating oil spills, the forests around Fukushima, septic areas and other highly contaminated areas and seems to have successful results using mushrooms to clean the environment. It is easier to pick the hazardous mushrooms and store them in a contained area than removing thousands of pounds or soil. read more
- Mushrooms and Reindeer- Animals foraging through the forest munch on mushrooms and since they are so effective in remediating toxins, they can infect the animals. This is likely the issue with the radioactive reindeer and sheep in Norway who are eating the mushrooms and now they have high levels of Cesium-137 which was released during the Chernobyl disaster 30 years ago. Cesium-137 has a 30 year half life. The safe limit for lamb/mutton consumption is 600 becquerels; the animals are measuring up to 8,200 becquerels per kilo of Cesium-137. read more
Recipe from Steven Satterfield
Photos from TC Brodnax at the Morningside Market