The Gala Opening of This Year’s Mushroom Festival

A small cardboard box was hand delivered yesterday by FEDEX just before 9 A.M. by a cheery, uniformed woman.

I said, “Mushrooms!”

She said, “I thought that’s what it said on the box!  Wow!  Enjoy them!”

Along with the mushrooms from Oregon Mushrooms (www.oregonmushrooms.com) came a $25 wasabi root swathed in a wet paper towel to keep it from drying out.

The mushrooms–matsutake and chanterelle–came in little, brown paper bags.  The former were flat out gorgeous; the latter were beautiful.  Both had firm texture and that forest-like aroma one associates with, well, take a guess.

Preceded by a visit to New Deal to buy fish for the wasabi, or was it wasabi for the fish, the first night’s meal was prepared with ruthless and swift efficiency.

The first course was sliced, raw blue fin tuna with a dash of salt and Bulldog sauce and a spritz of lemon served with freshly grated wasabi and freshly grated ginger.  Stunning.

Next were two dishes served at the same time.

Miso soup from scratch with Hokkaido kelp to flavor the broth.  We are talking great depth of flavor.  Sliced the matsutake into quarters, placed in the soup.  Separately, boiled kohlrabi to death and cooled them.  Then added them, quartered, to the broth.  Crazy.  Flat out nuts.

Chanterelle: Pan seared with Amish butter and a shallot and before finishing some chopped parsley was added in.  Toast four slices of first-rate rye from Hi-Rise.  Place chanterelles atop toast.  Slice Gruyere atop mushrooms.  Toast again.  Grate black pepper.

It was Umami, start to finish, and I can’t wait until tonight.

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