One of the (many) great things about going to McGregor is that we seem to eat all the time. More than we usually would at home. And it would just seem rude not to celebrate each morsel with a good glass of something. So we get to drink a little more too. Not too much, just a little. Somehow there always seems to be way too much food at the beginning of our stay – yet we manage to get through it. There is just something about the place that quietly persuades you to relax and enjoy life.
Smouse (aka door-to-door comestible salesmen), come past the house all the time – yelling from the fence about their tomatoes, naartjies, granadilla, apricots, grapes, pompon, spiiiinach … you get the drift. But they seldom walk onto the property – there being an unspoken agreement that the transaction happens over the garden fence. The prices are always good, the fruit or veg on offer usually perfectly sound (but rejected from the international market because of a blemish or misshape) and the provenance is indisputably local.
Which made the big brown packet of oyster mushrooms that sofa dad bought from the man who came right to the door even more of a treat. Oyster mushrooms are hard to come by – and they usually cost a bomb. This chap has figured out a way to grow these magnificent specimens on his farm – and they arrived beautifully fresh and loamy smelling. Despite the fact that we were going to Nic’ and Chris‘ for tea and scones, and then on to Karoux for dinner – we (sofamother, Aunty Mo, Popper and I) all agreed we had to eat them as fresh as possible.
Oyster mushrooms are hardy fellows. And need little to enhance their taste. So I thin sliced a couple of cloves of garlic and threw them with some salted butter into a medium pan, then added a glug of first press olive oil for good measure. Then I fried them over a medium heat until I could taste that they weren’t raw any more – about 8 minutes. Don’t add salt at this stage or it will draw all the water out of the fungi which will make them slimy.
I took the mushrooms out of the pan and put them to the side. Then added a couple of splashes of buttery white wine to the pan juices to let them de-glaze. About 3 mins.
While all this was going on I toasted a bunch of slices of ciabatta, and used a vegetable-peeler to coax thin flakes from a chunk of parmesan. Then I added two more blobs of butter to the de-glazed plan, grated some salt and pepper into that and briefly tossed the mushrooms back through: just to warm them up a tad.
Out of the pan, onto the ciabatta, dredged with parmesan and they were done. We were going to have salad, but no-one had any room. If you’re making a meal of it – a crisp lettuce interlaced with peppery rocket and dressed with lemon and olive oil would be the way to go. And a glass of crisp white or a fruity merlot.
I took a couple of pictures with my newly inherited camera as sofa dad (the camera’s previous owner) looked on and offered advice. Not perfect, a bit arty – but all in the spirit of the village. Slow food, prepared simply and all for $5.