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Shiitake mushrooms: from the East with flavor – Italian Cuisine

Shiitake mushrooms: from the East with flavor


Of most cultivated mushrooms, such as champignon or pleurotus, it is generally said that they are very watery and not very tasty. Asians do not meet this rule shiitake mushrooms which, on the contrary, have very interesting gastronomic properties and also an excellent supply of nutrients.

Where they come from and how they are made
The origin of these mushrooms is lost between China and Japan, the country that gave them their name: "shii" actually means Oak, the wood on which they grow spontaneously. Unlike other wild varieties, they are easily "tameable" and therefore widely cultivated, on suitable natural substrates. The botanical name is Lentinula edodes and come up with rounded hats And dishes, with an irregular surface. In the lower face they are crossed by lamellae dense and have gambetti short and thin, almost too thin for the size of the heads. Color is a light brown, similar to that of the mushrooms called "cremini" or Portobello.

A particular taste
The taste and smell of shiitake do not resemble any of the "western" mushrooms. The most particular note is a mild garlic scent, but they also have the strong one flavor known as umami, the taste that characterizes many dishes of Chinese and Japanese cuisines. In the Land of the Rising Sun they are used for dashi, the delicate and at the same time persistent broth at the base of many jap preparations. There, as well as in China, they are used in soups and hot pot (dishes in broth), in sautéed vegetables and in the filling of ravioli, such as jiaozi And gyoza, both in vegetarian recipes and in those based on pork or beef. The consistency is firm, almost fleshy, and they keep cooking and shape well, without pulping or emitting too much water.

The nutritional qualities
Like many foods typical of Asian cultures, the nutritional virtues of the shiitake have also been deepened and oriental medicine extracts active ingredients used to treat various diseases and ailments. So we know they have a good amount of proteins and contain fibers, mineral salts (especially potassium, selenium and zinc), vitamins D and group B, substances antioxidants like the "Lentinano", responsible for the taste of garlic. More simply, with few calories (just over 30 per 100 g) are a light but nutritious food and suitable for slimming diets and detox regimes, to which shiitake bring all their flavor.

Fresh or dried
Thanks to the increasing diffusion of foreign cuisines, shiitake are becoming more and more familiar in our country as well. So much so that it is possible to find them in the shops of natural food, in some markets and, lately, also in many outlets of the large distribution. Those fresh they come from national crops, while in the shops of oriental specialties they are easily found buckets. In this case, pay attention to the origin: given the spongy structure, mushrooms absorb beneficial but also potentially harmful substances from the substrate and therefore it would be better to choose products Italian or European and in any case, if possible, biological. Having said that, like all mushrooms, to enter our markets, these too must overcome rigidities microbiological checks. A curiosity: in nurseries or on the net you can buy special compounds, containing the spores to start a small but satisfying one home production.

How they prepare
Not growing in the earth, but on a plant support (such as wood, straw or sawdust), they are not very dirty so usually just wipe the fresh mushrooms with a damp cloth and shorten a little the stems which, at the point of cut, may be blackened. This done, they are sliced ​​into strips or cut into pieces, leaving the smallest ones intact. The preparation of the dry shiitake that must be placed is a little longer in the bathroom for 1-2 hours in water, initially hot. Once drained, the stems must detach with the tip of a small knife and discard because, despite soaking, they remain fibrous, hard and dry.

In what recipes to use them
Compared to other oriental ingredients, it is easy to decline western shiitake. In fact, they adapt to practically all cooking and recipes that we would do with our mushrooms, but also with porcini and chanterelles. Yes they can trifolar with garlic and parsley, add barley or other cereals to soups, even in saffron risotto. They match the mediterranean herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram and mint. Stewed and minced, they can be included in the farce of the roasts as in those of stuffed pasta. They are excellent passed on Grill and seasoned with oil and a few drops of lemon juice. They look good with potatoes in Ligurian-style frying pans and in ragù to combine with tagliatelle and white polente. Try them also cooked stewed with seafood, shrimp, squid or cuttlefish. You will discover that the forest can have a new and intriguing taste.

February 2022

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Two flavor cream puffs crown – Italian Cuisine

»Two flavor cream puffs crown


Prepare the white puffs: melt the butter in a saucepan, add the water and then salt and flour all in a barrel, continuing to mix until the mixture comes off the walls.

Transfer to a bowl, leave to cool while stirring, then stir in the eggs 1 at a time.

Create the cream puffs (as big as a small walnut) on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper, a little distant from each other, using a pastry bag with a smooth spout.
With a wet finger, flatten the pin left on top of the sac-à-poche, then cook for 10 minutes at 190 ° C, in a preheated convection oven, then lower the temperature to 170 ° C and cook for another 30 minutes: at the end cooking, open the oven a little and let them at least cool down like this.

Prepare the chocolate puffs: melt the butter into chunks in a saucepan with the milk, then add the powders (flour, cocoa and salt) all together and mix until the mixture becomes very firm and starts to come off the bottom and sides, then remove from heat.

Transfer to a bowl and continue stirring until it is only slightly warm, then stir in the eggs 1 at a time, waiting for the previous one to be completely absorbed before adding the next.

With a pastry bag with a smooth spout, create the cream puffs on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper, a little distant from each other.
With a wet finger, flatten the pin left on top of the sac-à-poche, then cook in the same way: 10 minutes at 190 ° C, in a pre-heated ventilated oven, then another 30 minutes at 170 ° C, finally let it cool with the open oven before removing from the oven and allowing to cool completely.

Prepare the cream: whip the egg yolks with the sugar and salt, then add the cream and finally the mix of flour and cocoa.

Transfer to a saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring to make it melt well.

Divide the cream in half, and add the coffee only to one of the 2., then let it cool completely.

Assemble the crown: with a pastry bag with a thin spout, stuff the cream puffs, making a hole in the bottom (I stuffed the white ones with coffee cream and the cocoa ones with the normal one, but you can also do the reverse, if you prefer; then for the decorations I used all the advanced one, indifferently, alternating a little).
Start creating your crown: place a first layer of white puffs on the serving dish (to keep them from slipping, you can attach them to the plate with a little cream), then create a second layer, alternating with the first, with the cocoa puffs , making them adhere with a sprig of cream.

Create a third layer, then add tufts of the leftover cream, using the sac-à-poche (with star spout).

The double flavor puff crown is ready, you just have to decorate it with fresh berries, meringues and mint leaves and serve it.

A long history with a unique flavor – Italian Cuisine

A long history with a unique flavor


It was already the Celts more than two millennia ago, before the Romans, who spread the processing and maturing of pigs in the Friulian valleys.
It was immediately clear that the air of the Alps, the favorable climate of the Tagliamento river and a natural view towards the sea would have given rise to unique cured meats. In this border region towards the heart of Europe, salt was used to preserve and smoking to protect, and the two methods are still the hallmark of the territory today.

The tradition of unique cured meats

Morgante for over a century and for four generations has handed down this tradition by renewing it in its Prosciutto di San Daniele, with a Riserva del Fondatore aged over 20 months.
In Romans d’Isonzo, on the other hand, cooked hams and speck are produced with a light smoke that emphasizes the taste without ever hiding it; hand-tied roasts; salami, pancetta and frankfurters. Indeed “Vienna sausages”, as they were called in the sixties, when they were among the first to produce them in Italy.

The modern recipe

Is everything different today? Not their recipe.

Morgante has a mission: to promote authenticity, seek taste and balance, protect health and well-being in a modern diet and thus ensure a constant evolution of the quality of our agri-food heritage … and when we talk about cured meats, heritage ( we know well) is national in character.

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