Sunday, October 10, 2010

Marx's Mushroom Medley "Migas"

A couple weeks ago I was introduced to Justin Marx of Marx Foods, a web-based fine foods retailer, who was ramping up for his Blogger Mushroom Challenge. The challenge: to use Marx's dried mushrooms to create a new recipe and post it on your blog. The prize: three shipments of fresh wild mushrooms. My reaction: I love mushrooms, I love to cook and I have a food blog... I'm game - let's get cooking! I received a box of goodies - filled with the most earthily fragrant dried lobster, porcini, matsutake, morel, and black trumpet mushrooms - and was immediately inspired.

My inspiration was migas, a traditional Spanish shepherd's dish that involves frying leftover bread with whatever other humble ingredients are handy into a rustic, hearty meal. Migas screams earthy and wild to me - I imagine a shepherd foraging in the woods for mushrooms and herbs, then cooking his newly found treasures over an open flame, all the while drinking great wine and singing folk songs. My version is full of those rustic flavors but has been updated and refined. The mushroom sauté is the foundation of my recipe, but the dish is built with a layering of flavors - the salty crispy bacon, the spicy chile herb pesto, the wild mushroom gastrique, a lusciously creamy poached egg and crunchy bacon-fried bread combine to make something out of this world.

Chile herb pesto:
  • 1 medium poblano chile
  • 1 medium serrano chile
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp chives

Place the above ingredients into a mini food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Strain to remove any remaining pulp. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Creamy poached eggs:
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar

In a large nonstick pot bring the water, salt and vinegar just barely to a simmer, and reduce the heat to low. Carefully crack each egg (don't break the yolk!) into a small prep bowl and gently lower and empty into the water. Cook the eggs for 2-4 minutes, until the whites are barely opaque. Very carefully remove each egg using a smooth slotted serving spoon and set aside on a plate to drain. Season lightly with kosher salt.

Mushroom medley:
  • 1.5 lbs dried mushrooms
  • 3 thick slices bacon, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4-6 baguette slices
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Place the dried mushrooms into 2 cups of boiling water and allow them to rehydrate off heat for 10 minutes. When soft and tender, remove the mushrooms, squeeze out excess liquid and roughly chop. Reserve the mushroom broth for later.

Cook the bacon in a large pan on low heat to render out as much fat as possible. You should stir the bacon occasionally to ensure even browning. Remove the browned, crisp bacon and set aside. Also, set aside half of the bacon fat for later. Add thin slices of baguette to the remaining bacon fat and allow the bread to crisp and brown on one side, over medium-low heat. Remove the fried bread, season with a pinch of sea salt and set aside.

Add the reserved bacon fat back to the pan, then the onions and a large pinch of kosher salt, and sauté over medium-low until translucent. The salt will help release the water from the onions and they will turn light brown as they pick up the bacon fond from the bottom of the pan. Melt in the butter, then add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook over medium heat until dry.  De-glaze with the white wine and simmer until evaporated, then keep warm over low heat until the gastrique is ready. You can add a little water as needed to keep things moist.

Mushroom gastrique:
  • mushroom broth
  • 1 oz cognac
  • 6-10 drops sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp cold butter
  • salt, to taste
Add the cognac, sherry vinegar, and honey to the reserved mushroom broth, and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Once the volume has been reduced by 50%, add half of the liquid to the mushroom medley.  Reduce the remaining liquid by 50% once again, until somewhat thickened. Before serving, stir in the butter off heat to give the gastrique a nice sheen and texture.

To plate the dish, top the mushroom medley with an egg, sprinkle with the crispy bacon bits, and drizzle with the pesto and gastrique. Serve with the fried bread, and enjoy!


  1. Gorgeous!!! I love migas (we have them on the weekends on a regular basis) and this looks over-the-top excellent.

  2. Thanks Angela! And thanks for the introducing me to Marx Foods, this was such a fun challenge. Jeremy was busy last night making mushroom ravioli with the left over mushrooms (i think he will be posting his recipe to my blog). I LOVED your flan recipe, especially the crispy shallots - I am a sucker for fried onions - so good!

  3. This looks spectacular! I can't wait to try this recipe this week. I think I've perfected my poaching technique too, so this will be the perfect opportunity to incorporate the egg into a beautiful meal.

  4. Pictures' worth a thousand words, but wish we had the tastes to go with. Looks amazing. Keep up the spectacular effort.

  5. ...loving this amazing spin on wild mushrooms...

  6. Lisa, you're such a gourmet cook! I am so impressed, this looks delicious!!! (This is actually Alison, not Kyle)

  7. Thoughtful blog, thanks for sharing.