A couple nights ago I gave myself the challenge of cooking a #veganmonday dinner using one ingredient as the star.. Cremini mushrooms. I wanted to have a cold appetizer and a hot main dish with different cooking techniques and textures so this is what I created..
Cremini mushroom carpaccio
For this dish I confit the mushroom caps in olive oil for 4 hours. The confit method comes from ancient times when meat, vegetables and so on were cooked in fat for long periods of time in order to be preserved, this is why the word comes from “confire”, to preserve in french.
This time I used olive oil in order to keep it vegan. Cut the stem a little bit and pour the oil until you cover them completely. Make sure to keep the temperature down otherwise the mushrooms will get fried. Look at the bubbles in this video, that’s what you are looking for.
After 4 hours, turn the oil off and with a spoon take the mushrooms out. If you have a rack to let them drip the extra oil off it would be better. Don’t take the mushrooms out with a knife or a fork since we don’t want any marks on them and remember not to throw the oil away, we will use some later!
Place the mushrooms in a chopping board and slice them thinly separating the slices by shades (this will give a nice effect on the plate later). The trick to very thin slices is the knife, make sure it is deadly sharp.
Place the slices on a plate, from lighter to darker color, making sure there are no empty spots and all the slices touch each other.
Once you have finished layering the mushrooms, pour some of the olive oil we used to confit, the zest of half yellow lemon and its juice and some grated vegan Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle salt and pepper.
To get some crunch, we will take kale finely chopped and will just sautée it on a pan with a little drizzle of olive oil until crispy. Finish your carpaccio with this in order to get different textures and also some bitterness.
Flambée cremini stew
For this dish I was looking for a hearty flavorful dish for a rainy night and it turned out delicious!
First we will slice two garlics (I sliced only one since it was the largest garlic ever seen) and one full onion.
We will cook these with margarine (normally it would be butter but margarine keeps it healthier, lower in cholesterol and vegan). Make sure to keep the temperature low so that they don’t get any color.
Once cooked, add 2 cups of mushrooms roughly chopped. I liked not following a pattern in order to give the dish a rustic look. Sprinkle a little of salt and pepper.
Once the juices from the veggies start to go away we will flambée the whole thing with rum!! The most important part of this technique is to make sure you pour a little at the time so that the flame will not be too high since this can be dangerous. When the flame goes on, the alcohol will evaporate and we will have a delicious sweet taste left.
When most of the liquid has evaporated cover it all with veggie stock (ideally, I didn’t have any so I used water and the flavor was equally amazing) and let it boil.
Taste from time to time and ALWAYS put salt at the end when the liquids in your dish will reduce since the flavors will concentrate and it may result quite salty.
Plate with some croutons or crostinnis (I highly recommend vegan sour baguette sliced then give some color in a pan using the same olive oil from the carpaccio) and some chopped parsley.
Happy vegan Monday!