...cooks up mushrooms

Celebrity chef, James Martin, has created six new mushroom inspired recipes in conjunction with the Mushroom Bureau to show that mushrooms are a tasty addition to most dishes. As well as being tasty mushrooms offer a number of health benefits, as they are a source of Vitamin D, high in protein and low in calories – making them an excellent option for any diet.

To get the very best from mushrooms, he says, we should never wash them, instead wipe them clean with a damp piece of kitchen paper or a special mushroom brush. And when cooking them, use a heavy bottomed pan and a little oil, but don’t add the mushrooms until the pan is very hot. Mushrooms are perfect for eating once they’ve achieved a golden brown colour and almost crispy texture.

Here is one of the recipes created by James, but for the other five, as well as hundreds of other recipes and mushroomy facts, visit www.moretomushrooms.com

Pork escalopes with mushrooms, juniper and mash

Serves 4

4 large estima potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
110g (4oz) butter
175ml (6fl oz) double cream
1tbsp olive oil
4x175-225g (6-8oz) escalopes of pork
2 shallots, peeled and sliced into fine rings
4 juniper berries, crushed
400g (14oz) mixed mushrooms (such as oyster, buna shemeji and shitake), wiped clean
2tbsp sherry
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and black pepper

Place the potato quarters in a large saucepan, fill with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Cook for 20 minutes or so until softened, then drain and return to the pan. Mash with half the butter and two-thirds of the cream, season with salt and pepper and keep warm in the pan.

Meanwhile, set a frying pan over a high heat and add the oil and half the remaining butter. Season the pork well with salt and pepper and when the butter has melted, add the pork to the pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes on both sides, then remove from the pan and set aside.

Set the pan back over the heat, add the remaining butter and, when it has melted, tip in the shallots, juniper berries and mushrooms. Sauté together quickly, add the sherry and cook for 1-2 minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate off. Alternatively, burn off the alcohol by carefully lighting it with a match. Add the garlic and the remaining cream, if you wish, and cook for 2 minutes.

Spoon the mash on to each plate, place a pork escalope alongside, add the mushroom mixture and scatter over the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to serve.

James Martin comments, "For too long we have been breeding pork to be as lean as a catwalk model, but fat is important to the taste, so make sure the pork you buy has a generous layer. Good, free-range pork, like any properly produced food, may cost that little bit extra, but it’s definitely worthwhile as the flavour is far superior."

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