Happy Mushroom Day
Today is Kira’s birthday and because she likes Hollandaise sauce I once again slaved over the hot stove to whip together a unique Hell’s Kitchen Benedict. I made it special just for her and not because I was going to cook all the recipes at some point. It’s the thought that counts and I am pretty sure she thought it was just for her so it counts.
This is my fifth attempt at Hollandaise and I will admit it has gone better, but it has also gone worse. I had to add an ice-cube to save the sauce and I am just not sure what I did differently than last time, which makes it that much more frustrating. Luckily tonight’s sauce was mixed in with some wild mushrooms sautéed in butter and garlic and that covers a lot of mistakes. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The first step in tonight’s recipe was to make the Sweet Cream Hollandaise, but then it got interesting or at the very least mushroomy. I took two Portobello mushrooms that were roughly the size of my head and broke off the stems. Then I brushed the caps with a little olive oil, dashed on some salt and pepper, and grilled them until they were tender (about 3 minutes on each side). I’ve never cooked with anything like these mushrooms. They are a far cry from the white buttons I am used to.
Next, I threw a handful of shaved pit ham into a hot skillet and fried/warmed it for about 4 minutes. I piled the ham on the mushroom caps and used the same pan to sauté about 4oz of wild mushrooms in butter with garlic and minced shallots. The recipe calls for morels, shiitake, or even Portobello, but I found a small bag of shrooms actually marked – Wild Mushrooms. It was a medley of forest mushrooms that included some morels – worked for me. If you ever want your guests to drool into their wine glasses while they are waiting for dinner then this is the recipe for it. I cooked the mushrooms for about five minutes stinking up the kitchen and house with the smell of frying garlic and shallots. Then I let it sit off the stove while I took my time poaching the eggs.
I placed a poached egg on each pile of ham and it was at this point that I realized that the mushrooms were the bread in this Benedict. They do have the same sopping factor as bread, but they provide a bit more substance, which may have been why they seemed so filling.
I mixed the buttery wild mushrooms into the warm Hollandaise and spooned some (ok, more than some) over the stacked egg, ham, and Portobello.
It was delicious.
It was more than delicious. The Portobello caps added a new texture and flavor to it that I had never experienced before. They were tender and had an earthy flavor that bordered on peppery. The ham made everything wonderfully salty and the sauce…mmmm, the sauce. The sauce was like a bizarro mushroom dish where the butter and garlic were just a vehicle for the mushrooms.
Kira, I hope you had a great birthday. I know I didn’t give you a choice for your birthday dinner this year (I have a schedule to keep you know), but just think of the great list of choices you will have next year for your birthday dinner.
Recipe #105: Mushroom Benedict
Damn Good Facebook Status of the Day: Happy birthday, Kira! Take the night off–have Mike make dinner tonight, for a change!
[Damn Good Fine print: You may have noticed tonight that I broke my rule about giving the recipe away. I do believe that if you want to make these great dishes you should probably go out and get a copy of Damn Good Food, but if you can make a decent Hollandaise sauce I figure the rest wouldn’t be that hard for you to guess.]