Monday, January 5, 2009

Wild, Wild West I

We recently bought a pound of wild Northwest salmon steaks and an 11 oz filet, since we've been in the mood for salmon and they were surprisingly cheap.

A couple weeks ago, we bought "400 Sauces" by C Atkinson, C France, and M Mayhew published by Hermes House at Borders.

The rest of the title reads:
Dips, Dressings, Salsas, Jams, Jellies & Pickles
How to add something special to every dish for every occasion, from classic cooking sauces to fun party dips

400 Sauces

This concise, educational, beautifully put together 512-page cookbook was only $5. Each recipe, ranging from basic to fancy, has colorful and descriptive pictures, where at least one picture displays a crucial step or few through the final product.

We were eager to try the wild mushroom sauce (pg 125). The recipe directly from the book is as follows:

5 oz wild mushrooms preserved in olive oil
2 tbsp butter
5 oz fresh wild mushrooms, sliced if large
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp finely chopped fresh marjoram or oregano, plus extra herbs to serve
4 garlic cloves, crushed
12 oz fresh or dried fusilli
1 cup heavy cream

Drain about 1 tbsp of the oil from the mushrooms into a medium pan. Slice or chop the preserved mushrooms into bite-size pieces, if they are large.

Add the butter to the oil in the pan and heat over a low heat until sizzling. Add the preserved and the fresh mushrooms, the chopped herbs and garlic. Season to taste.

Simmer over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until fresh mushrooms are soft and tender.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in the boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, until al dente, tender but with bite.

As soon as the mushrooms are cooked, increase the heat to high and toss the mixture with a wooden spoon to boil off any excess liquid. Pour in the cream and bring the mixture to a boil. Season if needed

Drain the pasta and turn it into a warmed bowl. Pour the sauce over and toss well. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chopped fresh herbs.

And here it comes

...the substitutions...

Since we couldn't find wild mushrooms preserved in oil, we just used 1 lb of fresh wild mushrooms. For whatever reason, we couldn't find those silly spindles so we bought rotini instead. They are similar so it's not like we subbed spaghetti squash for it...which might not be that bad an idea for next autumn. We also added a little katakuriko to thicken it a wee bit.

Bug spent the better part of the afternoon to make the sauce, steam the salmon steaks, and cook the pasta. There are no pictures, since silly little me didn't think about it.

While the flavor wouldn't have changed this recipe too drastically if one used fresh white button mushrooms and would have made this dish cheaper by $2, the texture of the various mushrooms are what seals the deal for me.

The meal was filling and delicious -- with loads of mushrooms and salmon, how could it not be?! And it wasn't salty, hooray!

- Cassaendra

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