Wild Mushroom Salt
Drying is a brilliant way to preserve wild mushrooms. Some species, such as the bay bolete, slippery jack and the dryad’s saddle are actually improved by drying – the process really deepens their flavour. Use dried mushrooms to add richness to sauces, casseroles, soups or risotto: just soak a few pieces in hot water for about 20 minutes, then lift them from the soaking water, squeeze them out a little, chop finely, and add to the dish as it cooks. Reserve the soaking water, which has lots of flavour too and can be used as a stock – but it will have some sediment in the bottom so pour it off slowly and discard the last few gritty tablespoonfuls.
This salt is an ingenious way to add an instant hint of mushroomy flavour, without the need for soaking. We recommend that the dried mushrooms you use to make it are varieties that can be eaten raw, such as penny buns or dryad’s saddles, so that you can use this seasoning as you would regular table salt. If you can grind the mixture finely enough, you could even put some into a salt shaker, perfect for sprinkling over boiled or scrambled eggs or to season a steak.
Mixed with butter and spread over the skin of a chicken before roasting, the salt will add a smoky, forest flavour to the meat and bring a savoury depth to the pan juices or gravy.
- 25g dried penny buns or dryad’s saddles
- 10g coarse sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Put the dried mushrooms and the salt into a coffee grinder or spice mill. Pulse until the mixture is ground as finely as you require. A little texture is nice, unless you plan to use the mushroom salt in a traditional salt or pepper shaker. Stir in the black pepper, and store in a small glass screw-top jar.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK