The recipe today comes from the elegant and very interesting Babou, my coffee drinking “copine”. Born in France, Babou’s father moved the family to Ivory Coast in the 50s where she spent most of her life. Her father Raphael Matta, a wildlife conservationist ahead of his time, gave up a successful career in Paris in order to devote his life to the preservation of endangered animals, becoming the warden of Ivory Coast’s Bouna Reserve. Unfortunately, his commendable commitment was brought to an ignoble and tragic end when, stumbling upon a sacred manhood ceremony, the outraged participants incapacitated him with poison arrows and then finished him off with a primitive axe. Boy Howdy!
The book is called “Le Crepuscule des Hommes”, written by journalist Jacques Guillaume. I’m reading it now.
Anyway, the mushrooms. I always think that the French must all have an innately suspicious nature; always insisting on having the head to make sure it was a rabbit or inordinately satisfied with buying a chicken that includes feet, head and a few feathers, just to be sure. It’s the same with some vegetables; always a little dirt attached to the item so that you know that it was grown, in the ground, and had to be picked. People please! The dirt accumulating in my kitchen sink pipes is going to be a problem one day!
The delicious idea is to pickle the mushrooms whole by boiling them with herbs, spices and cider vinegar. After the mushrooms are cooked, you load them into jars and fill the spaces with olive oil. They will be ready in 2-3 days. Babou’s husband, Nico, suggests eating them as a side with chicken or veal. If you just eat them plain, he won’t know :D
I went outside to my neglected, moss ravaged garden to try some outdoor shots. I think I wasn’t listening to Roger when he explained about taking pictures of dark objects in glass jars. It’s either the lab specimen look or annoying glare. Oh well.
Babou’s Pickled Mushrooms
3 lbs mushrooms, washed and stem trimmed
1 1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp red or black peppercorns
1/2 tsp whole coriander seeds
5 whole cloves
1/2-1 tsp salt
Bring the vinegar, water, thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, garlic, peppercorns, coriander, cloves and salt to a boil. Add the mushrooms and boil aggressively until all the liquid has evaporated.
Cool the mushrooms, then place in jars, filling in the spaces with olive oil. Refrigerate for 2 or 3 days.