443. Mushrooms, or the Pearl

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

A Shilling Cookery for the People

By Alexis Soyer

Published 1854

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I first cut two good slices of bread, half an inch thick, large enough to cover the bottom of a plate, toasted them, and spread some Devonshire cream over the toast. I removed all the earthy part from the mushroom, and laid them gently on the toast, head downwards, slightly sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and placed in each a little of the clotted cream; I then put a tumbler over each and placed them on a stand before the fire, and kept turning them so as to prevent the glass breaking, and in ten to fifteen minutes the glass was filled with vapour, which is the essence of the mushroom; when it is taken up, do not remove the glass for a few minutes, by which time the vapour will have become condensed and gone into the bread, but when it is, the aroma is so powerful as to pervade the whole apartment.

The sight, when the glass is removed, is most inviting, its whiteness rivals the everlasting snows of Mont Blanc, and the taste is worthy of Lucullus. Vitellius would never have dined without it; Apicius would never have gone to Greece to seek for crawfish; and had he only half the fortune left when he committed suicide, he would have preferred to have left proud Rome and retire to some villa or cottage to enjoy such an enticing dish.

Therefore, modern gourmets, never fancy that you have tasted mushrooms until you have tried this simple and new discovery. Remember the month—the end of September or the beginning of October.

As Devonshire cream is not to be obtained everywhere, use butter, or boil some milk till reduced to cream, with a little salt, pepper, and one clove; when warm put in an ounce of butter, mixed with a little flour, stir round, put the mushroom on the toast with this sauce, cover with a basin, and place in the oven for half an hour. In this way all kinds of mushrooms will be excellent. They may be put into baking pans: cover with a tumbler as above, and bake in oven.