Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mushrooms on Toast or Funghi Alla Veronica – what’s in a name?

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"What's in a name? That which we call a mushroom
By any other name would taste as good."
Dear Mr Shakespeare,
Apologies for misquoting your lovely line from Romeo and Juliet but it was an emergency. You see, I just wanted a quick and lazy supper but the lovely rustic artisan bread I bought down the farmers market screamed DON’T so much as THINK about putting a baked bean NEAR me, sunshine!
It got me thinking about a supper dish my mother, Veronica, used to make my father when he came in from gigs late at night. Would this posh bread entertain the idea of being toasted and adorned with a simple mushroom sauce? Probably not... and then I thought of your beautiful “rose by any other name” line.
What if I called it Salsa Di Funghi Alla Veronica (loosely based on Funghi Alla Veronese)?
Mr Shakespeare, you are a genius! You can come to supper any time. 
For a quick and lazy supper for 2 you will need...
25g butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion (about the side of a tennis ball), finely chopped
1 fat clove of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leafed parsley
½ teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
250g mushrooms (your choice but something with a bit of flavour), sliced
100mls double cream or crème fraîche
60mls good quality stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 
2 slices of good quality bread (toasted just before serving) 
Flat-leafed parsley or basil to garnish 
Simple ingredients, magical mushrooms!
1                    In a medium frying pan over a medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and fry gently until just beginning to turn golden – about 6–8 minutes. Add the crushed garlic, parsley and thyme and cook for a further minute.
2                    Now, sprinkle the flour into the frying pan and stir until it is well mixed with the onions. Add the mushrooms and cook gently for about 5 minutes, gently stirring the contents of the pan occasionally.
3                    Add the cream or crème fraîche and stir into the mushroom mixture before adding the stock. Let the mixture bubble for a minute or two. The mixture should be creamy without being liquid. If there is liquid in the pan continue to let it bubble until the liquid has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4                    Serve immediately on toast and garnish with fresh parsley or basil – whichever you prefer.
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