Monday, 18 August 2014

Make Room for the King of Mushrooms!

Frittata di Miglio & Cardoncelli
Frittata with Millet & King Oyster Mushrooms


A strange little grain, millet- I have to admit it is a little bland compared to many other grains and is probably eaten more by budgerigars than by humans- possibly for that very reason! But, the bottom line is that I did buy some out of curiosity a while ago and as I found it to be a little disappointing the first time around, I was determined to make something tastier with it this time!

And behold! A new invention, a second chance and a redemption, all in one frying pan! Not bad for a couple of handfuls of budgie-food, eh?


Of course this dish would have been nothing without the glorious king oyster mushrooms that went into it- so "meaty" and satisfying, with great flavor and a wonderful firm consistency- these truly are kings in the kingdom of mushrooms- right up there at the very top of the crop!


To make this lovely, large frittata, I needed 3 king oyster mushrooms, 2 cups of millet, 2 shallots, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of fresh ricotta cheese, parsley and thyme.


In combination with the herbs, shallots and nutmeg, the millet became transformed into something much more flavorful- a great addition to the egg, to bulk-out this frittata and make it into a more substantial base for those lovely mushrooms- a simple but excellent idea, I'd say!


The first step is to rinse the millet a couple of times, until the water that you pour-off runs clear and then to let it soak for 30 minutes or so.

Next step is to boil it with a little salt, for 15 minutes at a low simmer until it is cooked-through and fluffy. Whilst it is still piping-hot, add one of the shallots, finely chopped, along with plenty of freshly ground pepper and freshly grated nutmeg, mix together thoroughly and set aside to cool. The residual heat of the millet will almost cook the shallot all by itself, but in the meantime, the shallot will infuse the millet with its savory flavor- good team work!

 Cut the mushrooms into quarters, lengthways and the other shallot into thin slices.


Fry the shallots in just a pat of butter, season with salt, pepper and a little thyme and allow to get nice and brown around the edges- just for 3-4 minutes, so that they are still only half done.


In the meantime, the millet will be cool enough for you to be able to add the smoothly-whipped ricotta plenty of finely chopped parsley, a little thyme and a little more salt and pepper.


Stir everything together well, turn on your oven to 200°C to get warm, grab your frying pan and prepare to have some fun with this!


Pour the egg-millet-ricotta mix into a lightly buttered frying pan and spread it out evenly and smoothly...


... then arrange the mushrooms on top, sprinkle with the finely sliced shallot and season again with a little salt, pepper and nutmeg. Allow to fry on the stove top for 4-5 minutes until the edges begin to brown slightly and then pop into the oven to continue cooking for a further 10-15 minutes at 180°C.


Allow the frittata to cool a little before serving, in order for it to become a little firmer and easier to slice... and to eat! If you can resist temptation that is!


Sprinkle generously with finely chopped parsley before serving... and then simply enjoy! This sure ain't no bird-feed no more!


And I am sure this would be substantial enough for you that even the meat-eaters amongst you out there would still be more than satisfied with this as a meal- I know that I was, for sure!


Golden-brown, toasty, but juicy and delicious- this is about as good as mushrooms get!

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