The Magic of Mushrooms
Do you like mushrooms? I mean, really like them? Well, I do but I know many people who don’t, and thats really surprising, considering mushrooms are counted among superfoods, with plenty of health benefits.
Low in calories, high in benefits like Vitamin D and iron, mushrooms are of various kinds, (at least 10,000 varieties are known to be existent, though the number is estimated to be higher) and grow either wild or are cultivated. The most well-known are of course the button mushrooms, grown across the world, while shiitake, porcini, morels, toadstool, etc are more uncommon.
A few rare exotic types are prohibitively expensive, such as truffles (also grown in Italy and white truffles are indeed grown in the Tuscany region) which are used sparingly in gourmet kitchens. Black truffles, known to be less pungent and sweet, are used in desserts mostly, while the more pungent white truffles are used as shavings in salads, pasta and meat dishes.
White truffles are known to be most expensive, and according to Wikipedia, sold at $14,000 plus per kg in 2009!
An invite to Fungi Fiesta, an ongoing promotion of the versatility of mushrooms being showcased by Chef Manik Magotra at Tuscany, Trident Hyderabad, therefore sounded like music to my ears and I soon found myself in the warm environs of Tuscany getting ‘mushroomed’!
We were introduced to the creaminess of mushroom with a delightful Wild Mushroom Cappuccino with Espresso foam, which was light and went down like a dream! Crumb fried button mushrooms with saffron cream, pepper coulis and balsamic reduction was the appetiser which followed.. and Italian sous chef Ameya had quite obviously indulged his creativity on this platter by creating a dark chocolate-coated mushroom…Suffice it to say that the dish was demolished in seconds!
Oriental Crust Pizza with seafood, white fungi, galangal and lemongrass was next and was quite impressive. But what I felt was packed with the intrinsic flavour and essence of mushroom were the Portobello Risotto with sundried tomato and mascarpone cheese and the Salmon Ravioli with dill cream, shiitake and caper jus.
The risotto especially was delightful with the portobello mushroom providing a stronger counterpoint to the sweet mascarpone cheese and the tangy bits of sundried tomato and orange rind all leading to a very tropical and happy feel on the palate.
The pasta was also equally good because of the shiitake mushrooms in it, and the sharp flavour of the capers, elevating the dish.
Desserts time and it was the turn of the white truffle oil to be featured. Chocolate Mud Pie with vanilla and white truffle oil ice cream was the perfect end to a meal, and the slightly pungent, almost garlicky taste of white truffle managed to offset the dark chocolate sauce and pie as the perfect complement.
(Funghi Fiesta is playing at Tuscany until Auguest 28th or next weekend in the evenings).