Homage to Fungi

The season for foraging is upon us. Mushrooms -- delicate yet curiously powerful in their ability to add rich meatiness in cooked dishes -- are the stars of September.

To begin the celebration of these forest-dwellers, a Mushroom and Nori Soup from Mark Bittman. The recipe calls for about three cups of mushrooms, though in my fungi-frenzy I measured on the upward of four. The ‘shrooms included a trio of shiitake, oyster and cremini -- each contributed a distinct texture, creating a rhythm of chewy, porous and meaty spoonfuls. The mushrooms swim a broth of chicken stock and soy sauce, which intensifies the earthy flavor of the dish. The addition of lemon juice gives a surprising brightness, pulling it up from its savory depths, and strips of nori add a note of the sea with a nod to its Asian influence. Recipe from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express. See the post here.


Light, delicate, flavorful, and unusual.

In a pot over high heat, cook about three cups of mushrooms (any combinations works; oyster and shiitake is especially good) in a couple of tablespoons of butter until they begin to release their liquid; add a diced onion, a minced garlic clove, and a chopped celery stalk and cook until the onion in translucent. Add about four cups of vegetable or chicken stock, a quarter cup of soy sauce, the juice of a lemon, a pinch of celery seed, salt, and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Tear or slice a sheet of nori into strips and put in soup bowls; pour soup over the nori (it will mostly dissolve) and serve.

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