Earthy delights: Mark Hix makes the most of the mushroom season

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Picked in the woods and fields, or bought in the shops – there's no beating the magic of mushrooms, says our chef

The mushroom season has been rather erratic this year, with varieties that normally start in October showing up in August. In the restaurants, we have seen a fantastic run of beefsteak fungus; I'm not sure what's caused such a great crop but they are always welcome in the kitchen – a perfect alternative to a piece of juicy rare meat.

Supermarkets, too, are becoming more adventurous about the fungi they sell. Wild-mushroom mixes containing varieties such as honey fungus, porcini, black trumpet and chanterelle are now readily available, and make great ingredients.

Roasted onions and wild mushrooms

Serves 4

Roasted onions have a delicious sweetness about them and make a simple and earthy dish with some seasonal wild mushrooms.

2 large banana shallots or 4 large shallots, halved
2 red onions, left intact with the skin on
150-200g wild mushrooms, cleaned and cut into even-sized pieces
1-2tbsp rapeseed oil

For the dressing

1tbsp cider vinegar
3tbsp rapeseed oil plus a little extra
1tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5. Place the whole red onions and shallots (cut side down) on an oven tray; bake for about 45 minutes until soft, removing the shallots after 20 minutes.

Leave the onions to cool, then remove the skin, quarter them and pull apart the natural layers.

Heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan and gently cook the mushrooms on a low to medium heat for 4-5 minutes, seasoning as they are cooking.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking the vinegar, rapeseed oil and mustard together, seasoning to taste.

To serve, arrange the onions on plates and dot the mushrooms among them, then spoon over the dressing.

Huss forestière

Serves 4

Spurdog, smooth hound and tope are all types of fish generally sold as 'huss' these days – they're also known to fishermen as dogfish.

Misleadingly, you used to see them disguised as rock salmon in fish and chip shops around the country. Generally, though, they are completely forgotten about in our kitchens, which is a shame. The fairly firm flesh will withstand a bit of braising and marinating, which makes them good for trying out in various recipes. Huss is normally skinned by the fisherman; ask the fishmonger to cut it into roughly 60g chunks on the bone.

I've used meat stock in this recipe but non-meat-eaters can use fish stock.

250g huss cut into 60g chunks on the bone
Flour for dusting
Vegetable or corn oil for frying
120g wild mushrooms or button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
A good knob of butter for frying
Salt and pepper

For the sauce

30g butter
120g piece of streaky bacon, cut into cubes
8 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
2tsp flour
120ml red wine
500ml beef stock (a cube will do)

Gently cook the bacon, shallots, garlic and thyme in the butter, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, without colouring, until soft. Add the flour and stir well with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the red wine, then gradually add the beef stock. Bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes.

Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Dust the huss with flour, season with salt and pepper and fry them, a few pieces at a time on all sides, until well-coloured – remove and place on kitchen paper. Clean the pan and sauté the mushrooms in butter for a few minutes until lightly coloured, then drain in a colander.

Add the fish and mushrooms to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. The sauce should have thickened to a gravy-like consistency by now. If not, remove the fish and simmer the sauce until it has thickened, then return the fish to the sauce – season again if necessary.

Serve with buttery mashed potato or rice.

Chicken paillard with wild mushrooms

Serves 4

This is a great, quick, dinner-party dish with two simple ingredients. Use a single wild mushroom variety or a selection, depending on what's available.

4 chicken breasts, skinned
2-3tbsp rapeseed oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
200-250g wild mushrooms, cleaned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tbsp chopped parsley

Lay a piece of clingfilm on a chopping board, place the chicken breast on top, then lay another piece of clingfilm over that. Flatten the chicken with a steak hammer or rolling pin until it's about half the thickness.

Preheat a ribbed griddle pan or barbecue, brush the chicken breasts with oil, lightly season and cook for a couple of minutes on each side.

While the chicken is cooking, heat a frying pan with a few tablespoons of the oil and sauté the garlic and mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, seasoning and turning them as they are cooking; then stir in the parsley.

To serve, transfer the chicken to warmed serving plates and spoon the mushrooms and parsley over.

Marinated ceps with grapefruit and wood sorrel

Serves 4

When you have fresh, firm ceps they are stunning simply sliced thinly and eaten raw. Purely by chance, I experimented with grapefruit juice instead of lemon, as I didn't have a lemon at hand, and it works a treat. Wood sorrel is a tiny, clover-like leaf that grows wild and has a great lemony flavour, like the cultivated sorrel. If you can't get your hands on it, then torn leaves of sorrel or another herb such as basil would do.

250g firm ceps, cleaned and very thinly sliced
5-6tbsp rapeseed oil
The juice of half a grapefruit
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A handful of wood sorrel or cultivated sorrel

Put the ceps on a tray, season and pour over the oil and grapefruit juice, mix well, keeping the mushrooms intact, and leave for about 15 minutes, turning them occasionally.

To serve, arrange the mushrooms on serving plates, pouring any extra marinating juices over them. If the mushrooms have absorbed all of the oil and grapefruit, just pour a little extra over. Finally, scatter the wood sorrel on top.

Enjoy a five-course grouse feast at HIX Oyster and Chop House on 30 September at 7pm, hosted by Mark Hix, game supplier Ben Weatherall and wine expert John Hutton. Tickets, priced £85, are available on 020-7017 1930 or chophouse@restaurantsetcltd.co.uk

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments