By Shahnaz Radjy
Here’s an amazing recipe for one of the best fall appetizers I know. It’s courtesy of Menno Simon, the phenomenal chef from Vinha da Manta, a gorgeous glamping in rural Portugal. If you’ve foraged the wild mushrooms yourself, they will taste the best, but otherwise, see what’s on offer at your closest market or supermarket and give it a try.
Note: With mushrooms, be responsible! Check books and do your homework. If you’re not 100% sure of an ID, don’t eat the mushrooms. They say there are either bold mushroom hunters or old mushroom hunters, but never an old, bold mushroom hunter…
- 60 gr butter
- 60 gr flour
- 450 ml wild forrest mushroom, chicken or vegetable stock, hot
- 100 ml whipping cream
- Minimum 500 grams mixed mushrooms
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Handful of parsley, finely chopped
- Thyme, about 5 sprigs, leaves only
- Flour, enough to cover a plate with 1 cm of depth
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 1.5 tbsp milk
- Panko breadcrumbs, enough to cover a plate with about 1 cm of depth
- Oil for deep frying
Cut your assorted wild forest mushrooms (for example: giant parasol mushroom, ink mushroom, chanterelles, yellow spiny mushroom, aniseed mushroom and a few boletus) into small pieces. Fry in butter, adding the onion and garlic.
Melt 60 gr of butter, add the flour, and cook gently for 3 minutes. Add the hot stock bit by bit with the cream, stirring with a whisk all the time until a very thick sauce forms. Add the cooked mushrooms. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, and thyme. Let it simmer for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread a cm thick layer in a baking tray and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Take three shallow plates and fill the first one with flour, the second with the egg and milk mixture, and the third with the panko breadcrumbs.
With a spoon or even better, an ice cream scoop, make little balls of about 2-3 cm in diameter. Roll in flour. Roll in egg wash, roll in breadcrumbs. At first it’s kind of messy, but after a ball (or five), you’ll get the hang of it. The mixture should make approximately 30 balls. Let them rest for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
Heat up the deep fryer until the oil is about 170C and fry the balls in batches of about 6.
Collect them on some kitchen paper, let them cool slightly and serve with some mayonnaise – ideally to which you’ve added some drops off truffle oil and a grind of pepper (though another personal favourite of mine is mayonnaise that you jazz up with garlic, sriracha hot sauce, a touch of mustard, and some lemon, for a slightly acidic and spicy kick).
More amazing recipes like this
Hot off the press is the gorgeous cookbook written by Menno Simon: DINNER DAYS – it isn’t just full of incredible recipes that will make your mouth water as you read them and your belly happy when you devour them, but the photography is stunning, too.
Ps. You get bonus points if you share photos of your Wild Mushroom Croquettes on Instagram (tag @TheCramooz, @vinhadamanta, and @grkitchens)!
Shahnaz Radjy is a writer and optimist who has been working in communications and project management throughout her career. She currently works for the United Nations’ OCHA/UNDP Connecting Business initiative part-time while developing the off-grid Casa Beatrix ecotourism project in rural Portugal. When not at a computer, you can likely find her in the saddle, mushroom hunting, or tending to her vegetable garden. You can find her on Instagram.