This recipe is so overdue, I made this recipe back in early November. I have so many recipes piled up lol.
In November we had our annual corporate weekend where the bosses pay for a little one night weekend getaway in the country…as long as we endure the 2 hour long annual meeting. It’s actually not that bad. This year we were in Saint-Sauveur, a tourist ski Mecca. The fancy hotel was located right across the street from a shopping center. In this outlet mall there is a food store I absolutely adore. It is not fancy and set up like a warehouse but there is one beautiful jewel spot in there: a walking 3-aisle cheese refrigerated room. O-M-G! That will be another post one day.
They usually have a few exotic veggies and fruits. I already posted about the Salsify and the Topinambour. I had one remaining discovery that I am finally posting today. It is a mushroom called in French (on the package where I bought it): Champignon Pied de Mouton. The word for word translation would be Sheep’s Foot Mushroom.
But after some research online that is not the English name, the right name is Hedgehog Mushroom. Now here is the really funny bit. A few days prior to the discovery of this mushroom I did a favor for a friend who need to have someone drive her 45 minutes out of town to pick up her new pet…a hedgehog. Can you believe the coincidence?
A little wiki: from the Hydnaceae family, it is notable for its spore-bearing structures which are shaped like teeth rather than gills. It is broadly distributed in North America and Europe and found singly or in groups in coniferous or deciduous woodland.
I wanted a recipe that would showcase the flavor of the mushroom and settled on this recipe. The light bitterness of the kale was a perfect match for the sweet and nutty taste of this crunchy mushroom. And everything remained a bit crisp and not over cooked.
As I mentioned before, I have so many recipes piled up on my computer it is ridiculous. But I am in a February/end of winter blah period. I am so lazy I barely even cook dinner. Take out is so much more tempting. The food options for restaurant delivery in Montreal is astonishing, especially in my neighborhood. You find your classic Chinese, Italian and Greek restaurants. But I can also get Jamaican, Korean, Indonesian, sushi, Mexican, Tibetan and Lebanese…too name a few. Montreal is awesome for ethnic food variety. You cannot get bored ordering out and it is as easy as a simple call or an online order nowadays from one central company that works with several restaurants. Love it as an occasional treat.
What do you do when you are really not in the mood to cook?
Thanks for all your good wishes. I am still fighting this cold. Some days I win, some days the cold winds. But it shall pass. Thus I remain a bit quieter still on the blog front.
OK so raise your hands if you have ever tried salsify before? I knew it, only 2 of you know what this root vegetable is, right? The first I ever heard about salsify was the day my mom mentioned them from her childhood and she said they sorta vanished. Of course I made it my mission to buy some if I ever came across a bunch of salsify. And guess what? That day has come. I purchased them on the same occasion that I bought the topinambour (or Jerusalem Artichoke) . And I am keeping the mystery for a third exotic vegetable discovery that day, to be posted soon.
I bet I know what you are thinking: you want me to eat that UGLY thing? Yes I do and trust me you will love it. There are two types of salsify actually: the white salfify and the black salsify. I think you guessed I got the black one. It can also be called black oyster plant, serpent root, viper’s herb, viper’s grass. The black salsify is native to Southern Europe and the Near East. Although the skin is black the inside flesh is a creamy white.
There are a few precautions to know before preparing black salsify. The thick black skin exudes a sticky latex substance when peeled before cooking. Some prefer to boil the salsify first and peel once cooled. And once the salsify is peeled you want to immerse it immediately in water with lemon juice added or the flesh will turn brown very rapidly.
It’s mystical witchy look of course made people think it was miracle cure against the bubonic plague and snake bites. I am sad to say those claims are both false but it is a wonderfully nutritious root vegetable. It contains potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, and vitamins A, B1, E and C.
The salsify taste is reminiscent of artichoke hearts or a delicate asparagus. Some even say it has a faint taste of oysters but I did not think this to be true. I found a wonderful and simple recipe using the pan roasting method on the Eggs on Sunday blog. Basically you boil the salsify first to cook the vegetable and then you roast in a pan with caramelizes a little bit the exterior and intensifies the flavor.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
A sprinkling of chopped parsley or thyme
Peel the salsify roots and place them in a shallow pan with water to cover, lemon juice, black pepper, bay leaf, and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender (about 20-30 minutes, simmering, based on the thickness of the roots.)
Remove the salsify roots from the liquid and let cool slightly, then cut into small pieces (I cut mine into 2-inch batons.)
Heat some olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat until hot, then add the salsify pieces along with a sprinkle of coarse salt and a grinding or two of fresh black pepper. Cook until golden brown, then toss in the chopped fresh thyme at the end.