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Mixed mushrooms with farro, feta and almonds

Food

17th December, 2013
Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen
Tuesday 17th December 2013
This afternoon we're sad to say goodbye ALREADY to our new pal, Sydney foodie Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen!  Hetty's time with us has been slightly truncated by CHRISTMAS (which always comes far too soon each year if you ask me).  As next Tuesday is Christmas eve, Hetty is signing off today!  Her final instalment is a robust, comforting, and supremely flavourful salad of mixed mushrooms with farro, feta and almonds.  SO DELICIOUS.  We hope this and Hetty's other mouth watering salad recipes this month might inspire your meals with friends and family over the festive season....!  - Lucy x

Mixed mushrooms with farro, feta and almonds by Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen.  Photo - Luisa Brimble for The Design Files.

It is a family tale that one of my first words as a toddler was ‘Doong Goo’, which means ‘mushroom’ in Cantonese. Since childhood, I have had a deep-rooted, fervent love affair with fungus of all kinds.

For a vegetarian, getting creative with mushrooms is an important skill. Mushrooms are super soakers and love to be seasoned; their dark, earthy nature calls for big, gutsy flavours. They are fantastic barbecued, roasted with garlic and herbs, pan-fried in butter and thyme or even pickled in sweet vinegar. Keep a bag of dried porcini or forest mushrooms in your pantry at all times – re-hydrate, pan-fry in butter and garlic and add to pasta for one of those quick-as-a- flash yet indulgent last minute meals.

One of my favourite times of the year is Autumn when the pine mushroom season begins. I adore their saffron-hued prettiness and, for want of a better description, ‘meaty’ texture. Pine mushrooms are, for me, the pinnacle of the vegetable world – the bee’s knees, best thing ever and, if asked, would probably be part of my last supper.

For this salad, use whatever mixed mushies you can get your hands on. A few different varieties such as oyster, shiitake, pine or enoki will add extra interest and texture, but even plain old button mushrooms will do the job. Also, feel free to replace the farro with another grain of choice such as pearl barley or spelt.

Mixed mushrooms in the pan.  Recipe by Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen.  Photo - Luisa Brimble for The Design Files.

Ingredients

1kg mixed mushrooms, cleaned (for example, oyster, shimeji, fresh shiitake, pine, enoki)
20g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water
4 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic, crushed
50g butter, cubed
50ml extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
400g farro, rinsed well
1 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup dill, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup tarragon leaves, finely chopped 200g feta, crumbled
1⁄2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Sea salt and black pepper

Mixed mushrooms with farro and almonds.  Recipe by Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen.  Photo - Luisa Brimble for The Design Files.

Method (Serves 4-6 as a main meal or 6-8 as a side dish)

Slice or break up the mushrooms, depending on their size. Smaller mushrooms can be left whole. Heat a large fry pan to medium heat. Add half the butter, olive oil and the garlic. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms to the pan, along with the whole thyme sprigs and season well with two big pinches of sea salt and black pepper. Turn up the heat to high and fry for 8-10 minutes, turning the mushrooms around in the pan often. Continue to cook until all the juices have evaporated and the mushrooms are golden. Turn off the heat and add the remaining butter, juice of half lemon and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put farro in a large saucepan with plenty of water. Bring to boil, add a big pinch of salt and cook for 25-30 minutes until the grains are al dente. Drain.

Combine farro with mushrooms and herbs. Taste and adjust by adding more lemon juice, a couple glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a large serving plate and top with crumbled feta and slivered almonds.

We're so sad to say goodbye ALREADY to our new pal, Sydney foodie Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen!  THANKYOU HETTY for sharing your amazing dishes with us.  Thanks also to Luisa Brimble for the beautiful shots!

Don't forget Hetty's sold out book,  'Community, Recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen' is scheduled for a second print run in the new year - place your order via Hetty's online store

We hope Hetty's delicious seasonal salad ideas this month might inspire a few new additions to your menu planning over the festive season.... Tasty Tuesday will be back in January! 

Hetty McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen.  Photo - Luisa Brimble for The Design Files.

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