Roz Pur­cell’s vir­tu­ous vis­count bis­cuits

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - CONTENT - Su­san Jane White

I am love­bomb­ing the last of my fungi friends be­fore they are swal­lowed up by spring. Mush­rooms have to be one of the most so­phis­ti­cated and un­der­stated veg­gies we’re not eat­ing. They are the Woody Allen of the gro­cers — hardly over­bur­dened with good looks, but scrump­tious and in­ex­pli­ca­bly nour­ish­ing all the same.

When my lo­cal gro­cer stocks up on wild Ir­ish shrooms, my giddy shrieks can be felt sev­eral post­codes away. Main­stream su­per­mar­kets have even started stock­ing weird-look­ing fungi, which will make the hunt for this week’s in­gre­di­ents a de­light­ful dod­dle.

Mush­rooms are fun guys in the kitchen (get it?!). They bring great depth to dishes, as well as inim­itable flavour pro­files.

Apart from their meaty, lip-danc­ing taste, mush­rooms of all sorts like to fan­girl our im­mune sys­tem. Es­pe­cially shi­itake mush­rooms. For hun­dreds of years, Chi­nese doc­tors have pre­scribed th­ese mush­rooms to boost white­blood-cell ac­tiv­ity.

A unique polysac­cha­ride found in shi­itake — the beta glu­can — has been shown to tickle the im­mune sys­tem by ac­ti­vat­ing cy­tokines and killer T-cells. Kind of like a fas­ci­nat­ing im­mune- sys­tem de­fib­ril­la­tor, as I un­der­stand it. More clin­i­cal tri­als are un­der­way to un­der­stand the medic­i­nal ef­fect shrooms may of­fer our bod­ies.

Build­ing on last week’s col­umn, this mushroom and mer­lot stew uses bone broth to help it sing. But this ain’t no sing-song. Think opera.

I serve it with a good mash, and a dot of nat­u­ral yo­ghurt with freshly grated horse­rad­ish. It’s BAE (Be­yond Any­thing Else).

OK, so this teen-speak is nor­mally a ref­er­ence point for Justin Bieber’s abs, or for bare-chested mem­bers of One Di­rec­tion. Grand, so. Ex­cept when you get to my age. Be­cause food will ex­cite you more.

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