Dryad’s Saddle Kebabs with Za’atar and Lemon
You can use any firm, meaty mushrooms for these kebabs, but they’re a great way to use young, juicy dryad’s saddles. The Mediterrannean flavours of the kebabs are perfect for early summer, when dryad’s saddles appear. Though they’re not highly flavoured they absorb the marinade brilliantly, but you do need to avoid any older, woodier specimens. (Note that, because dryad’s saddles release some juices as they cook, these won’t work well on a charcoal barbecue. Chicken of the woods would be a better choice for barbecuing).
Za’atar is a Levantine blend of oregano, wild thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and salt which you can find in most supermarkets. It adds fragrance and seasoning to the mushrooms without smothering their flavour. Serve the kebabs as part of a middle eastern spread, with warmed flatbreads, hummus, olives and a selection of salads.
- 250g dryad’s saddles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon za’atar
- Lemon wedges and parsley sprigs, to serve
- Clean the dryad’s saddles with a pastry or mushroom brush, and wipe away any dirt with dampened kitchen paper. Cut into roughly 3cm chunks, removing any hard or fibrous parts, and put them into a wide shallow dish.
- Add the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and za’atar and mix well. Leave for 20 minutes to marinate. (If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them in warm water now, to prevent them blackening too much under the grill).
- About 5 minutes before your ready to cook, preheat your grill to its highest setting.
- Thread the chunks of dryad’s saddle onto the skewers (don’t pack them too tightly, or they won’t cook evenly)and lay them on a baking tray with slightly raised sides.
- When the grill is up to temperature, cook the skewers for 20 minutes, basting them frequently with the marinade and turning them from time to time to ensure even browning. After about 10 minutes, the mushrooms may release some juices into the pan. Pour these carefully into the marinade dish and use them for basting the skewers as they continue to cook. Make sure that the thicker pieces are tender and browned.
- When the skewers are thoroughly cooked and nicely browned, transfer them to serving plates. Serve with the lemon wedges and sprigs of parsley.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK