St George’s Salad
You can make this delicious warm mushroom salad at any time of year with whatever chunky, firm, tasty fungi and wild leaves are in season. This iteration celebrates the bounty of the British countryside on or around St George’s day, by using mushrooms named after England’s patron saint, along with toasted walnuts, crumbled goat’s cheese and a cider vinegar and walnut oil dressing flavoured with roasted garlic.
- 450g St George’s mushrooms
- 3 small cloves of garlic, left unpeeled
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon picked fresh thyme leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 50g shelled walnuts
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil
- ½ teaspoon honey
- About 150g mixed wild leaves, such as wintercress, hairy bittercress, lady’s smock, hedge garlic, wall pennywort, dandelion, chickweed and small sorrel leaves
- 100g goat’s cheese, chilled
- Edible wild flowers, to decorate (optional)
- Clean the mushrooms carefully using a brush, wiping away any mud with dampened kitchen paper. Trim the stems and cut the large mushrooms into chunks, leaving the smaller ones whole.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C. In a large roasting tin, toss the mushrooms and garlic cloves with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the thyme, and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Spread the mushrooms in an even layer and roast for 20–25 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, toast the walnuts. Spread them on a baking tray and put them on a low shelf in the oven for about 8 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside.
- When the mushrooms are cooked, remove them from the oven and pick out the garlic cloves. They should be quite soft now: squeeze the flesh out of the skins into a pestle and mortar or small bowl. Add ½ teaspoon coarse salt and the mustard powder, and mash together. Add the cider vinegar and whisk well, then add the walnut oil and remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and whisk until combined into a smooth dressing.
- Arrange the wild leaves on 4 plates, then scatter a quarter of the mushrooms over each. Crumble the goat’s cheese into small chunks and chop the walnuts into pieces. Scatter them over the plates of salad and drizzle each one with a little dressing. Put a few edible flowers on each plate and serve, with the rest of the dressing to pass round at the table.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK