Wild mushrooms are available year round, but they are not always good value or good to eat. The season in Britain begins mid-summer with girolles and progresses to the boletus family (porcini or ceps) soon after. Morels come in spring and the others (cauliflower fungus, beefsteak and the like), you will find on mid-summer walks in the woods. There is no formal set of ingredients to this dish; those here are only a guideline based on the market one fine summer day at the tail-end of the asparagus season.
Cut the outer leaves from the artichokes, then cut each globe in four lengthways. Boil them in a pan of lemon juice and salted water until tender, about 10 minutes.
Peel and scrape the vegetables as necessary. Remove the inner skins from the broad beans as well as the pods.
Fry the mushrooms in a little olive oil and set aside. Lift the vegetables from the cooking liquid and scatter them on warmed serving bowls. Top with the cooked mushrooms.
Add the pan juices from the wild mushrooms to the water in which the vegetables were cooked. Put this in a blender with the Parmesan, olive oil and crème fraîche and process to a smooth, light sauce. Check the sauce for seasoning, then pour it over the vegetables and serve.
A restaurant kitchen runs differently from a domestic one. The dishes in a restaurant are broken down like Lego into components, some of which are applicable to more than one dish. Things like chopped shallots, chicken stock and diced tomato, for instance, can be prepared in quantity and in advance.
© 2000 Shaun Hill. All rights reserved.