This week’s recipe is the creation of a talented young Australian chef, Joel Mackaay, whose white-table-cloth-silver-flatware-indoor barbecue dinner I was fortunate enough to attend last summer. It was some of the absolute most memorable BBQ I’ve eaten (and I’m from Tennessee, so I know good BBQ!). Those of us who were there are still talking about it today! For our column, Joel has offered us a recipe for an appetizer of porcini mushroom tapioca cakes. I know it is a bit at the outer edge of the porcini mushroom season for many of you, but there are still porcinis in the market where I live. I hope you will have the chance to try the recipe if you are so inclined. Lara Ferroni did the fantastic photography for these, with the perfect small porcini mushrooms supplied by Foraged & Found Edibles. -Kristina
CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!
About Joel: Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Joel left school at 16 to pursue a cooking career. After completing an introductory year at cooking school he moved to tourist hot spot Port Douglas where he began his apprenticeship at 2 Fish. He moved back to Perth and completed his apprenticeship at Balthazar (Perth) before returning to 2 Fish. From there he did a stint at the long standing Nautilus before taking the job of chef to the Australian Ambassador to Italy, Amanda Vanstone, in Rome. He is now back in Port Douglas where he is working at Harrison’s for Marco Pierre White disciple, Spencer Patrick.
Why Joel chose this recipe:
“This is a completely original recipe of mine (though I always say that everything has already been done before, so wouldn’t be surprised if someone, somewhere has already done it). I have served this with quail and a Porcini jus for a hearty little autumnal entree (appetizer). I’m not sure this could be made in this way for a particularly casual scenario, but would be great as something to woo friends with at a dinner party.
This is a recipe I’m proud to put my name to. I know it looks a little labour intensive but its important to explain the little things. And besides… good things take time!”
Images courtesy of Lara Ferroni.
Yields 8 portions
8 perfect slices of Porcini mushroom, about 1/5 inch thick
1/2 brown onion, cubed
1 clove garlic, cubed
Scraps from the porcini mushrooms used for the slices, cubed
120g tapioca pearls
40 ml white wine
475ml mushroom stock *, warmed
8g cold butter, diced
Lightly grease 8 metal 3inch ring moulds on a tray, each on its own piece of baking paper.
Sautee the onion and garlic over a medium heat until tender. Add in the chopped porcini scraps and continue to cook until starting to colour. Add in the tapioca pearls and stir briefly to warm. Deglaze with the white wine and cook until almost evaporated. Add in the mushroom stock in one go and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 15 mins until tapioca turns clear. Remove from the heat and stir in the cold butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide evenly amongst the prepared metal rings, flattening the top.
While the tapioca is cooking, gently fry the 8 slices of porcini in a pan with plenty of butter and a little oil, until tender but not too coloured. Drain on paper towel.
Press a slice of the porcini onto the top of each of the tapioca cakes while the tapioca is still warm. Place in the fridge until completely cool. Once set, remove the metal rings. Warm a pan over a medium to high heat. Place a little butter and oil in the pan, pick up a portion of the tapioca, holding it flat in your hand with the piece of baking paper between the portion and your hand, and place gently in the pan (with the slice of mushroom down in the pan), frying until golden. Don’t cook it too hard or the mushroom garnish will go too dark and will have a bitter taste, conversly don’t do it too slowly or it wall fall apart. Once you’re comfortable with this you can do a few at a time but make sure you maintain an even heat in the pan. Place on a tray with baking paper, cover with foil and put in the oven at 375F until it is warmed through (keep an eye on them or you may open the oven to find a mess of tapioca that has just spread itself over the tray). Serve immediately in a decisive manner using a fish slice to get completely underneath tapioca.
*For the mushroom stock I slice an onion, a clove of garlic and some button mushrooms. Sautee this until a deep golden brown then deglaze with white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to bring the caramelized goodness away. Once the wine is almost all evaporated you can either add in vegetable or chicken stock or even just water along with some sprigs of thyme, a bay leaf and some peppercorns. Simmer gently until you have a nice brown stock and then pass through a fine sieve.