Wild thing: Mark Hix's delicious mushroom recipes

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You don't need to be a forager to make the most of mushroom season

I always look forward to mushroom season, which for us starts properly in the summer when we get sent lovely yellow girolles from Scotland. These are sometimes referred to as chanterelles, but for me they are girolles and the skinny, yellow- or brown-stemmed variety that appears later on are chanterelles.

Wild mushrooms certainly make up for the winding down of the summer vegetables. They are wonderfully versatile, too, whether you serve them simply, as an accompaniment, or as an integral part of a dish.

If you know what you're doing, foraging is a very satisfying pastime. If you don't, tag along with someone who does – you'll learn a thing or two about the fruits of the woods. Plus, you'll have the pleasure of being able to eat your spoils.

Silver mullet pickled girolles, spring onions and sea aster

Serves 4

Grey mullet, or silver mullet as I like to describe it on my menus, is a really underrated fish and the larger specimens can be as good as sea bass. I've thrown in a bit of sea aster here, which is naturally a wild seashore vegetable but available in cultivated form in some shops and I've even got it growing in my garden.

4 portions of grey mullet from a large fish
60ml olive oil
100ml or so of fish stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g girolles or other wild mushrooms, cleaned
10 spring onions, cleaned and halved
The juice of half a lemon
A handful of sea aster, optional

Put the olive oil and fish stock in a pan with the mullet, season, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes, then remove the fillets and keep warm.

Add the mushrooms to the liquid and simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the spring onions and simmer for another minute, turning them as they are cooking. Drain off the liquid into a clean pan and simmer until you have about 4 tbsp left. Add the lemon juice to taste and toss in the sea aster if using.

To serve, place the mullet onto warmed serving plates and arrange the mushrooms and onions around.

Mushroom fondue

Serves 4-6

It's been some time since I've done a fondue and now that we're in mushroom season, I've been playing around with this idea and using a selection of mushrooms to dunk into the fondue. Some can be left whole; larger ones, like puffballs or ceps, can be cut into bite-sized chunks.

50g butter
1 small onion, peeled, halved and roughly chopped
120g button mushrooms, washed and roughly chopped
40g flour
500ml hot vegetable stock
100g grated cheddar cheese
3tsp double cream
2tsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g wild mushrooms, cleaned
1-2tbsp olive oil

Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the onions and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Stir in the flour, then gradually add the stock to avoid lumps forming. Bring to the boil, season and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend in a liquidiser, then transfer to a clean pan. The sauce should be quite thick by now – if not, continue simmering. Whisk in the cheese, double cream and parsley; re-season if necessary.

Next, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms on a medium heat for a few minutes, seasoning them lightly, until tender.

Serve the fondue in a hot dish or fondue pot, preferably on a table warmer with the mushrooms all around.

Veal sausages with creamed sweetcorn and girolles

Serves 4

Our old-time sausage supplier, Jean Paul of the Franconian Sausage Company, has been making some great veal sausages for the restaurant, but you can use any good-quality sausage for this dish.

4 sausages, as above
2 corn on the cobs, cooked
100ml chicken stock
100ml double cream
150-200g girolles or other wild mushrooms
A couple of good knobs of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the kernels from the corn, put them in a pan with the chicken stock and simmer for a couple of minutes. Blend 1/3 in a liquidiser and return to the pan with the double cream; simmer until thickened and season. Meanwhile, cook the sausages and keep warm. Melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms on a medium heat, until tender.

To serve, spoon the sweetcorn onto warmed serving plates, place the sausage on top and spoon the mushrooms over.

Mushroom Salad

Serves 4

This is a great way to serve and show off a selection of mushrooms, especially if you have been down to the woods yourself. If you're a bit of a gardener and a forager, then you can make a virtually free starter.

200g or so of wild mushrooms, cleaned, and cut if they are large
2tsp olive oil
A good knob of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A couple of handfuls of small salad leaves and herbs

For the dressing

1tsp sherry vinegar
4tsp walnut or hazelnut oil
tsp caster sugar

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat – seasoning as you go – until tender. Then add the butter and keep them warm. Whisk all of the ingredients together for the dressing. Arrange the leaves and mushrooms on serving plates and spoon over the dressing.

Mark Hix and Alex James will be doing a cooking demonstration at 3pm on 11 Sept at the Harvest at Jimmy's Festival in Oxfordshire. See alexjamespresentsharvest.com

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