It’s been a busy week and I’m feeling a little under the weather, so I’ve opted for something quick and easy.
With such a simple recipe, I was worried I wouldn’t have much to talk about. But, as it turns out, even the shortest text offers something of interest.
This week’s source recipe is Pâté léger aux champignons – or Light Mushroom Pâté.
What’s a Parisian mushroom when it’s at home?
My recipe called for Champignons de Paris. It wasn’t hard to figure out what sort of mushrooms they were – referred to in the UK as button mushrooms. But it prompted me to wonder about the origins of the name, since I don’t associate mushrooms with a big city, but rather walks in the countryside.
Apparently, this mushroom’s origins lie in Paris, but today it is mainly grown in the Pays de Loire region. As explained to Le Parisien, by Grégory Spinelli, a producer in the Parisian suburbs (or champignonniste – what a great word!), the true champignon de Paris must be grown in cellars, in a layer of limestone, rather than peat compost – resulting in a unique depth of flavour. Find out more about this mushrooms' history - in English.
Interestingly, in a food translation workshop I attended in Manchester recently, one text worked on was about Miel de Paris – honey from Paris. Although I’m sure many of these urban products have been around for some time, I have the impression that their popularity is on the rise. This fits well with a consumer base which is becoming more and more environmentally conscious in terms of what they eat, with a jump in vegetarianism, ‘ugly’ fruit and veg, and demands for eco-friendly packaging (see 2019 food trends from BBC Goodfood).
Although I may not have been using the famous Parisian mushrooms, the pâté was nevertheless tasty, and a great nibble to have with bread before dinner. As demonstrated in last week’s post, I don’t always follow recipes to the letter. This week I swapped the shallot for an onion, adding the onion to cook at the same time as the mushrooms, rather than adding it raw, to counter their stronger flavour.
Part of the challenge this time was actually trying to make mushroom pate look appetising! It's not the most aesthetically pleasing food at the best of times, but I've tried. drizzling some olive oil, adding a sprig of rosemary, and slathering on some sourdough.
I plan on using some more seasonal ingredients in a dish which I’ve only ever eaten as a dessert, but which in this case, is savoury. Any guesses?