Have you ever been mushroom foraging?
Just like learning the names of birds or plants around you, it’s one of those experiences which gives a fresh perspective on life and makes you tune in to the changing seasons. There’s something so exhilarating about tramping through the forest and discovering a prize mushroom, waiting to be simply cooked and eaten. Please be warned: not all mushrooms are edible, so read up about it first, or better still, go with a guide
We decided to do our mushroom forage under the practised eye of, Justin Williams, Cape Town’s mushroom expert. If you would like to learn more about how to identify and harvest wild mushrooms, sign up for his next course.
We trust that these simple poached eggs and mushrooms on toast will inspire an all-day breakfast this weekend.
Until next time, keep cosy
You will need
1 Tbsp butter, plus extra for buttering toast
125 g foraged* or mixed mushrooms
Sprigs of fresh thyme
2 fresh eggs
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 doorstop-thick slices of sourdough bread, toasted
2 generous tsp Pesto Princess Sundried Tomato Pesto
½ large, ripe avocado
* Mushroom foraging is a great outing but never eat anything you are not 100% certain you can identify and always consult a trusted guide if uncertain.
1. Heat the butter in a medium-sized pan. Add the cut and cleaned mushrooms and thyme. Sauté until golden and slightly softened. Set aside with a lid on to keep them warm.
2. To poach your eggs, bring a medium-sized pot of water to a gentle rolling boil. Here are a few key things to remember when poaching eggs.
- Use the freshest eggs possible. The fresher they are, the easier they are to poach. You can check how fresh an egg is by cracking it into a saucer. A fresh egg will have a firm albumen (the transparent liquid around the yolk). The older the egg, the more watery the albumen becomes and the trickier it gets to make a decent poached egg.
- Use the best quality eggs you can lay your hands on. Try your local farmers market.
3. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water. If your eggs are super fresh you won’t need to do this but it is a fail-proof method to have up your sleeve. The apple cider vinegar helps the albumen solidify quickly and it has the least intense flavour out of all the vinegars so it won’t affect the taste of your dish.
4. Crack your eggs into ramekins first (or any small dish). This makes it possible to ease them into the water. Once the water is boiling, slowly tip in the eggs.
5. For a soft poached egg, cook for about 1-2 minutes. The best way to know if it is done to your liking is the Touch Test: remove the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and prod it to see how soft it is. As all egg sizes vary, the poaching time will be dependent.
6. Assemble by buttering the toast first. Spread liberally with Pesto Princess Sundried Tomato Pesto before mashing the avo on top. Spoon the buttery mushrooms over and perch a poached egg on top, with a good crack of black pepper and some salt.
Serve with hot coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice!
Recipe and food styling by Michelle Parkin.