Our two recipes today have one thing in common: they are both served in lettuce boats. No plating or silverware necessary for these dishes!
Truffles: Hidden Gems
We will be cooking mushrooms in one of our recipes, but first let’s hunt for them.
It can be a lucrative business, hunting for truffles, as they commonly sell for $1000 per pound. But finding them is a trick; their growth is considered a rare natural phenomenon found primarily in France and Italy, and you generally need to employ the skills of a pig to find them.
But, folks in Oregon are trying to show that truffles can be planted, managed, and harvested just like any other agricultural product.
Chef Daniel Orr went on a field trip to Eugene, Oregon to attend the 6th annual Oregon Truffle Festival. Their truffièrie, or truffle field, is located near a number of local wineries by the Willamette River. The festivities include a truffle hunt, seminars for training your dog to sniff out truffles, and a Grand truffle dinner.
One of the founders of the festival is Dr. Charles Lefevre. He is perhaps the world’s foremost culinary truffle cultivator. His job is to work with trees that are known to be good truffle hosts and then plant those in truffièries across the country.
“I had always been told that Oregon truffles were weak and had no aroma,” he says, “but the reality is they are very, very good!” He saw the festival as an opportunity to not only redeem Oregon truffles, but give people the opportunity to experience hunting for truffles in the wild.
He feels a special connection to the land because he grew up in Oregon. Knowing that a delicacy comes from the same earth that he also came from has changed how he views himself. “That might explain why so many Europeans are so proud of the places they come from and why they think their place is the absolute best place in the world – because they see the other stuff that comes from it!”
King Oyster Mushrooms Served In Napa Cabbage Leaves
We’ll be using some truffle oil in this first recipe.
“They look like is an oyster mushroom on steroids,” Chef Daniel Orr jokes. He’s talking about the king mushrooms we’re preparing in this dish. They are so meaty that they could easily serve as a meat-substitute in the main course portion of your meal.
- King oysters mushrooms
- Olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Truffle oil
- Roasted garlic oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Spinach arugula pesto
- Napa cabbage leaf
- Drizzle the mushroom with olive oil and then cook them under a broiler for 3-5 minutes. Kosher salt will begin to brown.
- Drizzle with truffle oil and roasted garlic oil. Then squeeze the juice of ½ lemon over top.
- Spread some spinach arugula pesto on the inside of the Napa cabbage leaves.
- Place three mushroom halves on the Napa cabbage leaves and enjoy!
Wild Rice And Pear Salad With Pecans
Wild rice isn’t rice at all actually – it’s a type of water grass. It look like thin seeds, and the seeds split the binds of their pods when boiled. As with all grains, make sure to wash them thoroughly before cooking.
The toasted pecans pair well with the nuttiness of the rice, and the d’anjou pear adds sweetness and color. As with any salad, this dish needs some acid. We’re adding some orange juice to this to play off the sweetness of the pears.
When it comes to the herbs for this recipe, though, it’s completely up to you. “We give you ideas and then you make them your own. You don’t even have to give us credit,” says Chef Orr. Try some basil, chervil, or cilantro – or all three – and let us know what tastes best to you!
- 2 cups wild rice, cooked and cooled
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup pecans, lightly toasted and diced
- 1 d’anjou pear, diced
- 6-8 endive leaves (“barquettes”)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- herbs of your choice to taste (i.e. chopped basil, chervil, cilantro)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse wild rice before cooking. To a large pan, add rice and 3 cups of water. Cook for 50-60 minutes. For additional flavor, add some chopped onions, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Let the rice cool down.
- Add pecans and pear to the rice.
- Then add herbs as you like, orange juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Mix together.
- Serve the salad in endive barquettes and enjoy!