It all started with the bread. The freshly baked sourdough – crunchy on the outside, chewy & holey on the inside.
No, on second thought it started with the mushrooms – the giant flat mushrooms left over from a weekend event. Or was it the asparagus, freshly picked just a few days before? No, if we’re looking at it in terms of length of time said items had been in the kitchen begging to be used, then it was the mushrooms first. Then the asparagus. And the bread was the clincher that brought it all together.
Now I will digress for a bit…
I’m sure you know what it’s like when life gets busy. So busy that there’s no time to be tired because you’re just going at full speed all the time. So busy that life is reduced to a checklist and a series of instructions to make sure nothing is missed (collect kids from school – check – if a bit late…). So busy that mealtimes become a matter of what’s easiest, quickest, and will evoke the least amount of grumbling. That’s our life these days (which, incidentally, is why I’m posting much less frequently at the moment). Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining in any way, shape, or form because there are some fun & exciting things happening, both at work and at home. But we do have a lot on. And family mealtimes have become a continual rota of pasta, something thrown on the barbecue, leftovers from work, “clean out the fridge” soup, and more pasta. Nothing too inspirational; nothing that has me grabbing the camera so I can share it with you. There is of course fresh asparagus to brighten things up, and we are not very patiently waiting for the first of the alphonso mangoes at the Asian grocer. Honestly, I can’t wait for those. But mostly these days it’s a matter of feeding the family in the easiest and fastest possible manner, and moving onto the next thing.
Yesterday I had a rare bit of time to spare. Kids were at school. Items on to-do list had been completed. Bliss! It was lunchtime. I decided to treat myself, take a bit of time, and make myself a lunch that would get me excited. A lunch that had to please only me. I adore mushrooms but both boy and girl hate them (I’m hoping they will someday see the error in this), so lunch would definitely contain mushrooms. Mushroom soup had been sitting in the back of my mind since I’d brought the mushrooms home, so that was an option. But there was asparagus to use, and I can’t get enough asparagus during the season. And of course there was the aforementioned bread, which absolutely had to form part of the meal. A quick rummage through the fridge produced a few more of my favourites – soft goat cheese & prosciutto. Like the contestants on Ready, Steady, Cook! I ran this random list of ingredients through my mind and came up with…
Posh mushrooms on grilled sourdough and grilled prosciutto wrapped asparagus.
The mushrooms were so simple – sauteed in olive oil. Seasoned with Maldon salt, freshly ground pepper and fresh thyme. Mixed with soft, tangy goat cheese just before removing from heat. Generously piled on the grilled sourdough. Mushroom heaven.
The asparagus was cooked in my favourite way. Wrapped in a slice of prosciutto, brushed with just a bit of olive oil, and grilled until the prosciutto was crispy and the asparagus was tender. Savoury and salty and oh-so more-ish.
This was a totally selfish lunch, made only with me in mind, and I loved it! I was in absolute food heaven. So quick and easy to make, and it disappeared rather too quickly as well (eaten with only my fingers). One needs to spoil oneself every so often. I must do it again soon.
Posh Mushrooms on Grilled Sourdough
This recipe makes enough for 2 medium sized slices – a generous portion for 1, starter portion for 2, or 4 canape sized pieces.
- 2 thick slices of sourdough bread, from a medium sized (6″/15cm diameter) loaf – if you don’t have sourdough, any hearty/rustic bread will do
- 125 grams fresh mushrooms – I used just basic flat mushrooms, but I think half flat mushrooms & half wild mushrooms/porcini/etc. would be even better
- 2 tsp olive oil or 1 tsp butter & 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- 50g soft goat cheese
Grill or toast the bread and set aside. If you’re making canape sized portions, before grilling cut the bread into appropriate sized pieces.
Slice the mushrooms into medium sized pieces. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms. When almost cooked add the salt & pepper to taste, and the thyme leaves. When cooked add in the goat cheese, mix well, and remove from heat.
Divide the mushrooms into portions and pile onto the bread. Eat with knife and fork if being posh; eat with fingers if you want to really commune with your food.
Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
For every piece of asparagus you will need 1 piece of prosciutto or serrano ham.
Wash asparagus well. Lay out a piece of prosciutto portrait style – i.e. with the short side horizontal. Lay asparagus across the prosciutto, with the head of the asparagus sticking out. Roll up, covering as much of the spear as possible but keeping the head free. Repeat for each piece of asparagus.
Brush the entire thing with some olive oil. Heat a grill pan or barbecue to medium (you can also use an oven grill). Grill asparagus, turning frequently, until the prosciutto is crispy and the asparagus is cooked through (not mushy, just cooked through).
Eat with fingers. Then lick them.