Who else gets to reap the benefits of local foraging without having to leave the house? First I was the lucky recipient of chanterelles, then lobster, hedgehog and cauliflower mushrooms. This week I was given some mushrooms I’ve never tried before: pine. Thanks Ron!
In some respects, the pine mushroom may be my favourite. While it is not as tender as some others, it imparts a superb aroma and flavour to whatever dish it is cooked in. It has a, well . . . piney scent that is intensely pungent. You don’t need a lot of this ‘shroom to flavour a dish and yet its spiciness didn’t overpower anything I made with them. This week I cooked the two large pine mushrooms Ron brought us in four ways: nestled inside tuna patties, roasted with root vegetables, sautéed in an omelette, and finely diced in this vegetable cornbread.
While scanning through The Deerholme Mushroom Book by Bill Jones, I found lots of information on pine mushrooms and several recipes I wanted to try. Also called the matsutake mushroom, it is highly regarded in Japan. It was a cool rainy night here in the Cowichan Valley, so a chicken roasted with root vegetables in the oven seemed like a cosy idea. Bill’s recipe for Mushroom Vegetable Cornbread popped off the page as a perfect accompaniment to a comfort food meal. I adapted it only slightly. While I think that any firm mushroom variety would work well in this bread, the pine mushrooms really added a zing which we all enjoyed. I baked it in an 8-inch square stoneware casserole dish.
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 1 onion, finely diced (I used 2 leeks instead–white and light green parts only)
- 1 cup finely diced broccoli
- 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 2 cups finely diced pine (or other firm) mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups medium-grind cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon each of minced fresh rosemary, fresh sage, and fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- On a baking tray covered with parchment paper, spread out the diced vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix the egg into the buttermilk and pour into the dry ingredients. If it looks a little dry, add a little more buttermilk. Fold in the herbs and roasted vegetables.
- Oil an 8-inch square baking dish. Spread the batter in the dish, smoothing out the top. Bake for about 30 minutes until the top begins to brown lightly and the bread pulls away from the sides of the pan. Good warm (Get the butter!) but just as good cold.
Recipe adapted from The Deerholme Mushroom Book by Bill Jones.