Parasol Mushrooms with Bacon Rarebit
This is the perfect breakfast after an autumn morning forage, good with any large flat mushrooms but excellent and super-quick with parasol caps. Parasols can be a little tricky to cook – they’re very spongy and need a good brisk heat to stop them turning flabby. Frying them with their deep gills downwards in just a little oil or fat seems to do the trick, followed by a quick blast on the other side to crisp up the skin. Make sure your parasols have the stem completely removed – it’s too tough to eat, and will stop the cap’s umbo flattening out as it cooks.
- 2 large parasol caps, stems removed
- 50g bacon lardons or diced pancetta
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 100g mellow-flavoured cheddar, grated
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
- A dash of Worcestershire sauce or mushroom ketchup
- Using a pastry or mushroom brush, carefully clean the parasol caps paying particular attention to the delicate gills. Preheat the grill to its highest setting.
- You’ll need a well-seasoned or non-stick pan that will happily go under the grill, large enough to hold one parasol cap at a time. Put the bacon into the cold pan, and set it over a medium heat. As the fat begins to run, turn up the heat. When the bacon is crisp and golden brown, lift it out with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Pour off all but a very fine film of bacon fat (keep the rest handy for later in the cooking), and set the pan back over the heat. When good and hot, add the first parasol cap gill-side down. Fry for about five minutes until the gills are golden brown, pressing down from time to time (if the cap has a high umbo, this will gradually soften and collapse). Flip the mushroom, dribble a tiny bit more bacon fat into the pan and fry for a couple of minutes on the skin side, keeping the heat fairly high.
- Meanwhile, mix the egg, milk, cheddar, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce and bacon. When the first mushroom cap is ready, spoon half of the mixture over, mounding it up in the middle and leaving a 1cm margin all the way round. Put the pan under the grill and cook for about 5 minutes until the topping is golden, bubbling and puffed up. Serve immediately, and cook the second parasol cap in the same way.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK