Fungi are a fascinating food product. In recent years some incredible varieties have begun flooding the Australian market, but even so we are really only skimming the surface of their potential. We have gone from just using generic button or field mushrooms to being able to choose from varieties such as lion’s mane and oyster mushrooms. There are also now locally grown fungi such as cordyceps and turkey tail, which are used for medicinal purposes.
Most fungi are grown in a coarse medium such as spent coffee grounds or woodchips; they eventually leave that medium with a structure more closely resembling soil.
One problem with mushrooms, as with any other fresh vegetable product, is that they can dry out or go limp within a couple of days of less-than-ideal storage. This confit method makes it possible to purchase a reasonable quantity of nice mushrooms and capture them in close to perfect condition. When cooked to this level it is really easy to keep them stored in the fridge and bring them out to toss through salads, braises or omelettes. The confit oil can become the base for dressings, as it has in this recipe, and can be boosted with the addition of dried wild mushrooms such as porcini.
The salad made here from this confit can easily be turned into a more complete meal with the addition of ricotta or chicory. It is also delicious with roast duck.
With such great agricultural potential along with incredible textures and flavours, I look forward to fungi playing a far greater role in our daily diets.