Thursday, January 19, 2012

Trilogy of Mushrooms

         There is always a story behind any dish: it may be romantic, funny, nostalgic, mysterious and – sometimes – unbelievable. Here is one.

            Once I decided to have a cup of tea at the lounge of a five-star hotel while I was waiting for my husband to come. I headed to the restroom to wash my hands first and as I was about to leave it, I caught a sight of some books and magazines on a coffee table (yes, there was a coffee table in the restroom…and a sofa, by the way). One of the huge volumes was a collection of the best vegetarian dishes served at the hotel chain throughout the country. Of course, I couldn’t resist sneaking peek into it. The book was amazing: full of spectacular pictures and mouth-watering dishes, with the detailed recipes included. My attention was drawn to an appetizer called “Trilogy of Mushroom” – a dish of, probably, the most well-known Indian Chef Hemant Oberoi. I loved the idea of putting three elements together: a stuffed mushroom, a mushroom toast and mushroom crème-brulee. I knew that it wouldn’t be a problem for me to stuff a mushroom and to make a toast but I definitely needed the guidance for a savory crème brulee. As I tool a notebook and a pen out of my bag (planning to rewrite the recipe quickly) a girl walked into the restroom. She misinterpreted the look of an enthusiastic cook with the look of a hungry person and, assuming that my date hadn’t come and I was left all alone, without any opportunity to have a proper lunch, – offered me some help. I realized that I actually looked weird: sitting in a restroom, looking through a cookbook – so I felt that I owe her an explanation. To say true, she didn’t quite believe me when I told her about my food blog – in her opinion, I am too skinny for a good cook. Anyway, we sort of made friends with that girl and even went to have tea at the lounge together (you can’t carry on a conversation in the restroom, can you?).

            As far as the dish is concerned, I recreated it that same week. I had just got a blow torch and was eager to use it in action! So, a savory brulee was made, together with simplified versions of a toast and a stuffed mushroom (Hemant Oberoi used different types of mushrooms while I had an access only to one). 

            The story, however, does not end here. A few weeks later, without any explanation, that book was sent to our office on my husband’s name (do they have cameras in the restrooms?!). Well, probably, one shouldn’t act so weirdly at a five star hotel. By saying that, I’m more than happy to have this incredible book now – with the original recipe of the dish and much more!


Recipe adapted from the original one by Hemant Oberoi


Mushroom brulee
200ml cream
3 egg yolks
80 gm mushroom puree
1 tsp caster sugar
salt to taste

Mushroom toast
2 slices of bread
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 tbsp chopped onion
½ tsp minced garlic
50 gm mushrooms, finely chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

Stuffed mushrooms
3 large button mushrooms
2 tsp olive oil
½ tbsp chopped spring onion
1 tsp ricotta
1 tsp cheese, grated
salt and black pepper to taste


  1. For mushroom brulee, preheat the oven to 160C. Make a sabayon in a double boiler whisking cream and egg yolks; add mushroom puree and season with salt. Pass through a strainer and pour in two ramekin moulds. Bake in a water bath for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Just before serving, sprinkle the top with the sugar and caramelize using a blow torch.
  2. For mushroom toast, heat 1 tsp of oil and butter in a pan. Sauté onion till translucent, add garlic and mushrooms, season and cook till the liquid evaporates. Cut two rounds of bread, brush them with the remaining olive oil and toast them. Top with the mushroom mixture.
  3. For stuffed mushrooms, remove the stems from two mushrooms (reserve the caps) and finely chop them, together with the third mushroom. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan and sauté the onion and seasoned mushrooms. Cook till the liquid evaporates, remove from heat and mix with ricotta. Preheat the oven to 200C. Brush the reserved caps with seasoned oil and stuff with the mixture. Top with cheese and put in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

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