By Georgie Socratous
I love the idea of foraging. Heading into the forest with a little knapsack and camping stove in tow, picking and eating mushrooms and being totally self sufficient. How blissful does that sound? Finding my own wild mushrooms, frying them up with a few complementary flavours and piling them onto a thick slice of fresh sourdough is pretty much my idea of heaven.
Sadly, as a slightly manic city dweller, the chances of this happening are slim. At best I eat my market-bought wild mushrooms on toast at my dining table, in my concrete warehouse flat. It is usually Saturday morning, I’m probably in my PJs and, more often than not, I’m nursing a slightly sore head. But that’s fine, because mushrooms on toast is my favourite hangover cure, along with Bloody Marys and avocado, which should also be served on toast with lots of chilli.
Everyone has their own take on mushrooms on toast: butter versus extra virgin olive oil, to garlic or not to garlic, creamy or straight up. For such a simple dish, the possibilities really are endless. So it’s more the cooking method where people stumble with our funghi friends. Mushrooms should be cooked on a high heat – hard and fast to get rid of the water within. The pan will then become watery, but you want to keep cooking until that pan is bone dry, so you can get a little colour on the fellas. Then you can turn those mushrooms into a stroganoff, a curry, the base of a delicious stew, or just serve them on toast. However you choose to use them, if you start them off well they’ll be perfect carriers of whatever flavour you give them.
When it comes to serving them on toast, I like a tiny bit of butter and olive oil (greedy), crushed garlic, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a pinch of dried red chilli and a small splash of double cream at the end. I then serve it on a wedge of brown sourdough bread, lightly toasted and spread with a little more butter. Hangover? What hangover?