It has been a very successful mushrooming season so far, and I am now overrun with girolles. I have almost more than I know what to do with. To be honest, it's a nice problem to have! I could probably use them in about two weeks by eating them in various guises for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it would feel like a bit of a waste... I would like to extend the joy of eating these delicious mushrooms for as long as possible.
So I started researching different methods of preserving mushrooms. Drying was an obvious one: I oven-dried most of the scruffy ones and made powder from them; an intensely flavoured seasoning that's worth its weight in gold. Pickling is a popular method for preserving various vegetables, but it's not commonly applied to mushrooms. I gave it a go, and the result was pretty good. I didn't add salt to the pickling liquid as I feared it would break down the flesh of the mushroom too much, so the final product requires a sprinkling of sea salt to bring out the flavour properly.
I won't lie to you, these pickled mushrooms are quite intense and vinegary and are best enjoyed as an accompaniment to something else. They would be sublime in a bacon sandwich or a burger. You could even incorporate them into a salad. There are many possibilities. I advise using girolles for this, if you can source them, but it would work just as well with button mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms from the supermarket.
- 700 ml white wine vinegar
- 800 ml water
- 1 sprig thyme
- 4 medium banana shallots, sliced into rings
- 10 peppercorns
- 1 blade mace
- ½ clove garlic
- 350 g girolles, or other mushrooms
Place all the ingredients except the mushrooms in a pan, place over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil.
Place the mushrooms in a large bowl. When the liquid has boiled, pour it immediately over the mushrooms and cover, either with a lid or cling film. Leave to infuse at room temperature for 24 hours.
Put the mushrooms and all of the ingredients in a jar (or jars, if you do not have one that is big enough to fit all of them), and pour in enough of the pickling liquid to cover. Replace the lid, and store in the fridge. The pickled mushrooms will keep happily like this for several months (if you can avoid eating them for that long!)