Thursday, July 3, 2014

Haymarket Mushroom Dream

button mushroom, shiitake mushrooms, radishes and trumpet mushrooms on a white board

Last weekend, one of my friends, decided that we should go to Haymarket Farmers' Market in Boston. Haymarket is not really a traditional farmers' market because the food there is not artisanal and sellers are not farmers. What makes Haymarket special is the abundance of fruits and vegetables for cheap, really really cheap. One has to be careful though to ensure that they are getting good items because the items there are not exactly known for being fresh. My number one Haymarket rule is not to buy anything in bulk. If I can't cook it over the next couple of days, I won't buy it from Haymarket.

Although I had done grocery shopping at the grocery store just the day before, I agreed to go to Haymarket because I figured I won't buy much. This was my first mistake. As my friend noted, "You can't help yourself around food." This is true...I see food, I see possibilities, I start shopping. So while we are walking through the market, I start seeing mushrooms everywhere. Then I start dreaming of making a mushroom mince that can used in place of ground beef. I decide to buy different types of mushrooms to wide the flavor profile of this dish that is rapidly developing in my head. I used button mushrooms mostly because these were really cheap. Then I added in Shiitake and Trumpet mushrooms.

This recipe is the result of the Haymarket dream. This mushroom mince is so simple to make. I actually made it on the first day of Ramadan while I was fasting. Chopping the mushrooms manually gave me something to focus on. If you have a food processor, this is so easy to do. I kept the seasoning really simple as well. Something that I have noticed about the way I cook is that I really like ingredients being able to speak for themselves. I don't over spice or season food because each ingredients should have a voice in the meal. Mushrooms have a meaty flavor that just needs to be complemented a bit to bring it out.

I had the mushroom mince for dinner on angel hair pasta topped with a crispy toasted and garlicky panko breadcrumbs* along with roasted asparagus and radishes. It  was a hearty meal to kick off Ramadan.

Meaty Mushroom Mince

2 Lbs of  Mixed Mushrooms
1 Small Onions
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
2 Tbsp of Italian Herb Blend
3 Tbsp of Olive Oil

1. Clean and mince all the mushrooms, the onions and garlic into fine and consistent confetti.
2. In a non-stick pan, heat up the olive oil. Pour in the mushroom mix confetti.
3. Into the mushroom mix, add the bay leaf immediately as well as the italian season blend. Also, add salt to taste.
4. Keep cooking until mushrooms have released all their moisture and dried up into a thick dark mince. This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Enjoy.

* For tips on how to toast the panko bread crumbs, check out this earlier post on Garlicky Pasta.

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