Sunday, 19 August 2012

Life's a Beech

Funghi "Shimeji" con Spinaci e Pepe "Szechuan"
Shimeji Mushrooms with Spinach & Szechuan Pepper

I bought a beautiful, huge "head" of these "Shimeji" mushrooms yesterday at the market hall. I had no idea what they were, they just looked wonderful and I HAD to have them! They are also known as "Beech Mushrooms" apparently... in any case, they tasty just as wonderful as they looked and this is how I prepared them below!

I combined them with what was probably the most delicious spinach I have ever eaten- and it was a locally grown "New Zealand" spinach... don't ask! I live in Frankfurt, Germany! This variety has wonderful, thick, but soft and juicy stems, which make it so much nicer to eat. Obviously, you can use any spinach or similar but different mushrooms and prepare them in the same way... but this is my little story right here...

I heated up a little sesame oil in my frying pan and added the mushrooms, together with some finely sliced garlic and ginger. I stir-fried them for 3-4 minutes, until the white mushrooms started to take on a golden color.

I then splashed them with a little water, just enough to give me a blast of steam... and as soon as that water had evaporated away, there was a glorious mushroom perfume and they began to brown off even more quickly... as if by magic!

I took them out of the pan and added the spinach and again a little sesame oil. Same procedure here really... first fried for 1-2 minutes with garlic and ginger and then steamed for 1-2 minutes to get it nice and succulent.

I then put the mushrooms back in with the spinach and seasoned with soy sauce, a little honey, and a good pinch of Szechuan pepper that I ground with a mortar and pestle... the smell was intoxicating and delicious!

I served the vegetables up with a light sprinkle of sesame oil and sesame seeds with some steamed jasmin rice... a perfect, light, Asian influenced supper you might want to try for yourselves sometime! I do hope you enjoy it!

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