On my recent trip to Marylebone farmers Market I came across a gourmet mushroom stall. He had some fantastic large brown and white oyster mushrooms, mixed dried mushrooms and fluffy white ones that almost looked like coral or seaweed. I love coming across new things like this and enquired after this one. The new discovery was a cloud mushroom which I was told has a texture similar to crab or lobster and is best eaten raw or lightly cooked. How could I resist?! A few years ago I had bought a big bag of St Georges Mushrooms in a state of excitement only to discover that I didn’t like them atall so I thought I’d play safe and bought one big one to experiment with when I got home. I carried my little treasure home in the palm of my hand like a kitten worried I’d break or damage it.
Some investigations on Google weren’t all that beneficial, at least for my culinary purposes. I discovered it is used in Chinese medicine, primarily an extract of it, for stimulating the immune system and boosting immune function, particularly in the treatment of cancer.
These mushrooms are beautiful, like a little cloud (hence the name), so fluffy. They have a light smell, similar to oyster mushrooms. The moment it was compared to crab I thought back to this beautiful crab dish we had at River Café some years ago where the crab was lightly cooked and served with some toast and salad. I had lovely fresh ciabatta bread from the bakers so I thought I might attempt a similar veggie crab on toast dish.
Quarter red onion finely chopped
A large cloud mushroom
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
Ciabatta bread (or any other nice fresh bread)
Heat a couple of tbsp. of the sesame oil over a medium heat.
Add the chopped red onion and cook until soft.
Toast the bread – a couple of slices.
Chop the cloud mushroom and add to the onion and sesame oil. Cook very briefly, just enough to ensure you have mixed the flavours; a couple of minutes should suffice.
Add the chopped parsley. Stir.
Serve on top of the toast.