Welcome back, my friends! I hope spring has sprung by now in your part of the world. It’s been warm and sunny here in Northern California – which makes today’s food holiday – “Day of the Mushroom” – seem a tad misplaced, because I always associate ‘shrooms with autumn. But I’ll take any excuse to enjoy one of my favorite foods, anytime….
MUSHROOMS – DELICIOUS ALONE, GREAT WINE PARTNERS!
I love mushrooms for their flavor – meaty, earthy, and amazingly varied from one variety to the next – and for their versatility.
Even more, perhaps, I love the magic that mushrooms work on other foods to make them instantly more “wine friendly.”
MUSHROOMS – “UMAMI BOMBS!”
Mushrooms are laden with umami – that elusive “fifth taste” (after sweet, sour, bitter and salty) that’s often defined as “savory” or “delicious.”
Foods rich in umami include meat (both fresh and cured, such as prosciutto), cheese (especially aged types such as parmigiano), seafood (oily fish and shellfish in particular), soy sauce, broths, in addition to mushrooms.
What’s more, concentrating the flavors of mushrooms by cooking them increases their umami content many times over.
MUSHROOMS WITH PINOT NOIR AND OTHER REDS –
I find that Pinot Noir in particular has a special affinity for umami-rich food, but other varietals can work well too.
Here I broiled up a thick steak – juicy and rare, sliced nice and fat – and served it with a full-flavored, peppery Petite Sirah.
In the top photo, you’ll see an amazing array of mushrooms from the farmers market. All they needed was a quick wipe with damp paper towels, a rough chop and a slow sauté in sweet butter.
MUSHROOMS – KEEP IT SIMPLE!
With this fantastic hunk of meat, plus at least five kinds of mushrooms – a veritable umami bomb – nothing has to be over-thought or overworked.
No need to smother those wonderful natural flavors with fancy sauces – just salt and pepper will be plenty. Let the wine in your glass act as your “sauce.”
The point I’d like to make here is that sometimes, when you want to highlight a really distinctive component of your meal – in this case, these luscious mushrooms – you can allow it to take center stage.
Just keep the steak itself simple – and let your wine play a less-prominent “supporting actor” background role. This way, your delicious ‘shrooms can bask in the glory of their very own day!
COME BACK SOON FOR MORE TASTY CONTENT!
Well, my friends, I hope you’ve enjoyed our Day of the Mushroom. I’ll be back very soon to share more great flavors with you.
Cheers and happy tastings,
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