Simple Art of Cooking: Winter Is a Rich Time for Local Foods

A winter farmers market is blessedly happening at Tom Collichio’s Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton and I was lucky to attend its inaugural on January 15.  It felt like summer in January as I visited with Natalie and Steven Judelson of Amagansett Sea Salt Company, the Ludlows of Mecox Bay Dairy cheeses and the folk of Long Island Mushroom Company with their beautifully packaged baskets of local shiitake and oyster mushrooms from the North Fork. Sundry other vendors with their teas, baked goods galore and many more enticing products filled the two large rooms adjacent to the restaurant. The visitors’ enthusiasm was contagious!

Landy Labadie, Director of Food and Beverage Operations at the Topping Rose House, has scheduled a second date for the market on Saturday, February 15, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a March 15 date on board. For further information about the market, visit toppingrosehouse.com.

Jane Maguire and John Quigley are the entrepreneur owners of the Long Island Mushroom Company. The couple is growing glorious shiitakes and Blue oyster mushrooms at their 6,500 square foot mushroom farm in Cutchogue.   In recent years the availability of “wild” mushroom varieties has exploded and now you can have them all year round to enjoy in the following recipes.

FARFALLE PASTA WITH WILD MUSHROOMS
Farfalle or other short pasta, such as tubular penne or twisted fusilli is the desired shape to be used to retain the sauce.

Serves 3 to 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, brushed clean and sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
1/8 teaspoon (or more to your taste) dried pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4 pound penne, farfalle or fusilli
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/3 pound ricotta salata grated

1. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet. Sauté mushrooms for 3 to 4 minutes then add garlic and continue to cook over low heat. Add lemon zest, season with pepper flakes and salt.

2. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add salt to taste and put in the pasta. Cook penne until al dente, about 9 to 11 minutes. Ladle 1/4 cup pasta water to the sauce in the skillet and drain the pasta. Add pasta to the sauce in the skillet and toss to mix. Garnish with parsley and shavings of ricotta salata; serve hot.

BRAISED WILD MUSHROOM AND GREENS SALAD
Braising, a method of cooking generally reserved to cook less tender cuts of meat such as short ribs and shanks; here the technique is used to prepare a mix of flavorful local mushrooms with balsamic vinegar.

Serves 4 to 6

For the mushrooms

1/2 pound mushrooms, shiitake and oyster mix
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large leek, trimmed, washed well and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons water
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the Greens and Vinaigrette

4 cups mesclun or mixed salad greens, washed and spin-dried
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts for garnish

1. Cut off and discard mushroom stems (or rinse and use to make a mushroom broth).

Rinse mushrooms in a colander, tossing them under a spray of cool water. Transfer to paper towels and pat dry. Cut shiitake and oyster mushrooms into 1/4-inch slices. If using oyster mushrooms, separate at the stem end. Set aside.

2. Warm the olive oil in a large 10- to 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add leeks and garlic and sauté, stirring for a minute or so. Add the prepared mushrooms, toss to mix and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes until mushrooms are slightly tender. Add balsamic vinegar and water, cover the pan and simmer for 8 to10 minutes over low heat. If you would like to serve the mushrooms warm leave in the skillet and simmer over low heat. Or let stand at room temperature. This preparation can be prepped up to several hours ahead.

3. To serve, place the prepared greens in a large mixing bowl. Spoon on olive oil in a circular motion and sprinkle with salt; toss to coat. Pour on vinegar in the same manner then add several grinds of freshly ground pepper. Toss with abandon to distribute the dressing. Taste to adjust seasoning if necessary. Divide greens on 4 to 6 plates, top with mushrooms and sprinkle on pine nuts.
Serve at once.

For Silvia’s blogs and more recipes visit savoringthehamptons.com.

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