I’ll admit, I’m having a hard time concentrating on meals this week – with the exception of the one big one planned for Thursday. Our last few weekends of food safari have left me with a very well stocked fridge, freezer and pantry, and I have lots of beautiful raw materials to work with, but with my focus largely elsewhere, coming up with interesting ways to cook them has been a bit of a challenge.
Wishing Stone Farm has, in addition to some of the best eggs we’ve ever eaten, absolutely gorgeous produce, and we tend to load up on goodies from their stand at the Hope High market on Saturdays. They were among the last vendors there this past weekend, the last day of the season, and we loaded up in advance of the holiday and in preparation for the break before the Wintertime market begins.
Among the things that caught my eye were these beautiful oyster mushrooms, and though I had no idea what I’d do with them, I knew I wanted to feature them in our meatless Monday dinner this week. I had a big bag of rainbow chard from Wishing Stone as well, which I thought would make a good foil for the mushrooms, but I didn’t want to do another pasta or risotto. So I decided on another favorite fallback – creamy corn grits, rich with butter and plenty of grated cheese melted in (this time, the last of our Narragansett Creamery Blackstone).
The chard was sautéed in a bit of chile-spiked oil until wilted, and I decided to do something a little different with the mushrooms, tearing them into big pieces, tossing them gently with salt and a light drizzle of olive oil, and roasting them on a sheet pan until they were caramelized and a little crisp at the edges. I sprinkled a little fresh thyme on the mushrooms at the end, and added them to deep bowls on top of the grits and chard. And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t crown the whole thing with one of those fabulous Wishing Stone eggs, this time cooked sunny-side up in a bit of olive oil.
The roasted mushrooms, as I had hoped, were the stars of the meal – they retained their delicate texture but developed a concentrated earthy flavor that was really delicious. Full as we were at the end of our meal, I think we would both have made room for more mushrooms, and I can’t wait to play with this preparation again for future dishes.