Recipe: Wild mushroom bruschetta

Bruschetta With Wild Mushrooms, Ricotta And Green Garlic
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices country bread, cut 1-inch thick
  • 1lb wild mushrooms, cleaned (see note below)
  • 4 stalks green garlic, sliced cross-wise into ½-inch slices
  • 1.5 cups fresh ricotta
  • 1/2c-2Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Pinch chile flakes
Process:
  1. Preheat the broiler of the oven or light an outdoor grill.

  2. Brush olive oil on both sides of each slice of bread.

  3. Toast the bread in the broiler or on the grill, turning once, until it is nicely charred on the outside but still soft inside.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, sauté the green garlic with chile flakes and a pinch of salt in olive oil until tender; remove from pan.

  5. Increase heat on the sauté pan and add mushrooms and a large pinch of salt; Sauté hot and fast so that the mushrooms begin to brown and release some of their liquid, but are not steaming.

  6. Add a splash of lemon juice to the pan and toss through the mushrooms.

  7. Return the green garlic to the pan, taste for seasoning and remove from heat.

  8. Right before serving, season the ricotta with salt.

  9. To serve, spoon the ricotta on each slice of toasted bread, then top with the mushrooms.
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NOTE: Choose a variety of different mushrooms that you like. Some that work include hen of the woods or chanterelles, or whatever is local and in season.

Tips on cleaning mushrooms:

Wild mushrooms are often dirty, so be sure to clean them before cooking. If they aren't too damp, they can stand a very quick (10 second max) agitated bath in a full sink, followed by drying on towels on a sheet pan.

If they are a little damp, use a slightly damp towel to rub the dirt off, then either break them apart or tear into slightly larger than bite-sized pieces.

Facts about mushrooms:

Mushrooms have been used for thousands of years both as food and for medicinal purposes. They are often classified as a vegetable or a herb, but they are actually fungi. While there are over 14,000 mushrooms, only about 3,000 are edible, about 700 have known medicinal properties, and fewer than one percent are recognized as poisonous.

Mushrooms contain about 80 to 90 percent water, and are very low in calories (only 100 cal/oz). They have very little sodium and fat, and 8 to 10 percent of the dry weight is fiber. Hence, they are an ideal food for persons following a weight management program or a diet for hypertensives.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. One medium portabella mushroom has even more potassium than a banana or a glass of orange juice. One serving of mushrooms also provides about 20 to 40 percent of the daily value of copper, a mineral that has cardioprotective properties.

Mushrooms are a rich source of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.

Male health professionals who consumed twice the recommended daily intake of selenium cut their risk of prostate cancer by 65 percent.

In the Baltimore study on Aging, men with the lowest blood selenium levels were 4 to 5 times more likely to have prostate cancer compared to those with the highest selenium levels.

Event Information:

The 3rd Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine
April 8-11, 2010
Website: www.pebblebeachfoodandwine.com

A premier culinary celebration at Pebble Beach Resorts has raised the bar as the signature West Coast food event, with such celebrity chefs as Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck, Hubert Keller, Tyler Florence, Iron Chef Morimoto, Charlie Trotter, Jacques Pepin, Jean Georges Vongerichten and Michael Chiarello!

In addition to the more than 60 prominent chefs featured at the event, there will also be over 250 acclaimed wineries from around the world, including Harlan Estates and Screaming Eagle among them.

This dish will be served at the Sunday grand tasting.

About Liza Shaw:

Her rustic and soulful menu at A16 reflects a deep appreciation of Southern Italian culinary traditions combined with Northern California sensibilities.

With roots in la cucina povera, Liza distills robust and complex flavors from simple ingredients-from Bay Area produce and sustainable sardines to imported fragrant capers (cucunci), Sicilian almonds and diavolicchio peperoncini-and classic preparations, including hand-made pastas and wood-fired pizzas.

Liza acquired an early appreciation for Italian cooking through a Sicilian family friend while growing up in Glyndon, Maryland. It was not until years later, when Liza moved to San Francisco to work for a short-lived Internet start-up that she turned a lifelong love for cooking into a career.

When the dot-com bubble burst, Liza enrolled in the California Culinary Academy, but it was an externship and subsequent job with Suzette Gresham-Tognetti at San Francisco's famed Acquerello restaurant that would prove to be the most impactful part of her culinary education.

It was there that Liza developed a profound passion for making pasta, learned the economy of movement in the kitchen and recognized the importance of minimizing waste and extracting the most flavor from the simplest of ingredients. After two years at Acquerello, Liza was recruited to open A16 in 2004, where she worked her way up through every kitchen station before being promoted to executive chef and partner of A16 San Francisco in January 2009.

During this time, she established deep relationships with local farmers and purveyors and contributed to the writing, recipe development and food styling of the award-winning A16 Food + Wine cookbook.

Liza also played a pivotal role in the September 2009 opening of A16 Tokyo by working with the staff and developing the menu, which reflects that of the San Francisco restaurant with an emphasis on seasonality and use of local Japanese ingredients."

At A16, Liza collaborates with wine director/owner Shelley Lindgren to offer Campanian-inspired cuisine that pairs beautifully with a predominantly Italian wine list celebrating lesser-known selections from the Mezzogiorno.

Illustrated with a few ingredients that are bright in flavor, Liza's signature style is evident in her delicate ricotta gnocchi; hand-made pastas with squid ink; involtini (meat or fish rolled and stuffed with fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables and/or cheeses); acqua pazza, local seafood cooked in tomato brodo; and wood-fired pizzas.

Liza was recognized as Restaurant Hospitality's December 2009 Rising Star and is a member of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and an active supporter of Chefs Collaborative.

A16
2355 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA
Phone: 415.771.2216
Website: www.a16sf.com

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