Wild at heart: Bill Granger indulges his love for earthy wild mushrooms
There's something about mushrooms that brings out the extravagant side of Bill Granger.
I like to think of myself as being a pretty down-to-earth guy. I'm not really a foie gras or caviar person – expensive ingredients simply aren't my thing. But when I go to my local greengrocer and come across wild mushrooms, I just need to get some. It's one of those seasonal luxuries I cannot resist.
They go so well with warming ingredients such as butter, cream and all the comforting things that match the mood that takes over us with the arrival of the colder weather. A glass of big peppery red is the perfect match for these earthy, autumnal foods.
Aptly, in this Fashion Issue, I once read that Stella McCartney said that if she saw another mushroom risotto she would scream. I know what she means, but, trust me, my version does much more than tick the vegetarian box.
Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 175 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, grangerandco.com
Chanterelles on toast
There are mushrooms on toast, then there are wild mushrooms on toast… I've been pretty extravagant here and used a combination of golden chanterelles and the more expensive grey variety – the former lend beauty and texture, but for that punchy earthiness, the skinny grey ones are unbeatable.
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
Zest 1 lemon, plus squeeze of juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp light-flavoured oil, plus extra for frying
300g/10oz chanterelles (golden and grey), cleaned with a soft brush
4 thick slices sourdough bread
4 duck eggs
Start by making a gremolata by mixing the parsley, lemon zest and juice and crushed garlic. Add some seasoning then set aside. Toast your sourdough.
Now heat a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over a high heat, add the butter and oil and, once melted, throw in the mushrooms and sauté quickly until they soften and turn golden. Remove from the heat and add some seasoning. Keep warm.
Heat a good glug of oil in a large pan. When hot, crack in the eggs and cook to your liking. Spoon the mushrooms over the toasted bread, top with the eggs and finish with a sprinkling of gremolata.
Mushroom and smoked chicken crispy spring rolls and chilli dipping sauce
The Chinese use a vast variety of mushrooms, and often they'll be dried like the black fungus here. I like them for their unusual, almost rubbery texture, but the flavour is subtle, so to ramp these rolls up, I've added fresh shiitake as well.
For the chilli dipping sauce
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp rice-wine vinegar
1 tbsp Chinese chilli oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
For the spring rolls
100g/3½oz smoked chicken breast, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
50g/2oz bamboo shoots, shredded
5 spring onions, shredded
50g/2oz shiitake mushrooms, shredded
10g/½oz dried black fungus mushrooms, rehydrated and shredded
18 spring-roll wrappers (approx 150mm x 150mm)
Light-flavoured oil for deep frying
Mix all of the dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
To make the spring rolls, mix all of the filling ingredients together with a pinch of white pepper. Lay the spring-roll wrappers on a flat surface and place k one tablespoon of the filling diagonally across the bottom half of one wrapper. Fold the corner of the wrapper over the filling then fold in both sides then roll up to form a spring roll. Set aside while you make the remaining spring rolls.
Heat about 5cm of oil in a heavy-based pan, you will know it is hot enough when a cube of bread dropped in the oil turns golden in 30 seconds. Gently lower the spring rolls into the oil a couple at a time and cook until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel and keep warm. When all the spring rolls are cooked, serve with the chilli dipping sauce.
Parmesan risotto with porcini
Cooking the rice and porcini separately is the secret to my mushroom risotto. It keeps the flavours fresh and vibrant and gives variation while you eat – one moment you're biting into meaty sautéed porcini, the next creamy Parmesan risotto. Not even Stella could resist!
For the risotto
1½ litre/2½ pints quality chicken stock
25g/1oz butter, plus a large knob
1 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
400g/13oz risotto rice
150ml/1/4 pint vermouth
100g/3½oz Parmesan, finely grated plus extra to serve
For the porcini
1 tbsp olive oil
400g/13oz small porcini, cleaned with a soft brush and thickly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tbsp thyme leaves
Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Good-quality olive oil, to serve
To make the risotto, bring the stock to the simmer in a pan. Heat a large, high-sided frying pan on a medium heat. Add the butter and oil and once the butter starts to foam, add the shallots and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, until soft. Tip in the risotto rice and stir well to coat. When you hear the rice crackle, add the vermouth and stir until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
At this point, start adding the stock one ladleful at a time, stirring continuously and not adding the next ladle until the previous one has been absorbed. Continue until the rice is al dente. You might not need all of the stock to get to this point, but if you prefer your risotto more cooked, keep going with the stock. Vigorously stir in the additional knob of butter and the Parmesan, then cover and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Put the butter and oil for the mushrooms in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, toss in the porcini, garlic and thyme. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the porcini are tender and taking on some colour. Stir through the parsley.
Ladle the risotto into serving bowls and spoon the porcini over. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and a glug of good olive oil.
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