Mousseron, also known as fairy ring champignon, are a small but worthy edible mushrooms with a sweet, nutty flavour. They deserve a bit of gourmet treatment, so try flaunting them in this impressive but surprisingly simple starter.
Mousseron (Marasmius oreades) or fairy ring champignon are prevalent grassland mushrooms that can be found growing, as their common name suggests, in rings or arcs. Their caps measure just 2-5cm across but they are more than just your average "little brown mushroom". They are a versatile and highly-prized edible with a distinct mild, sweet and nutty flavour. They work well with a range of dishes, particularly cream and eggs, but can simply be stirred through pasta or used to posh up a pizza topping.
Mousseron can be found from late spring through Autumn and will keep up to a week in the fridge after picking. They do, however, possess one additional gift that makes them a boon in the kitchen: they can be dried and "resurrected" by re-hydration. They evolved this ability in order to be able to survive dry spells during their growing season and will spring back to life when it rains. They not only regain their original shape and colour but can also create new cells and spores. For the cook, this means that, like porcini, they make a brilliant ingredient to dry, store and use when required — just soak them in warm water for 10-15mins..
You'll find mousseron are great mushrooms to experiment with as they require little preparation — just a rinse in case of grit — and can be cooked whole as well as eaten raw. Though the stem is rather tough so is best discarded or used for stock.
Ingredients (serves 2):
3 large eggs
3 rashers of streaky bacon
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 handfuls of frozen peas
1 slice of bread
2 tbsp flour
20ml white wine or cider vinegar
Dash of olive oil for frying
Sunflower or vegetable oil for deep frying
For the dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
- Blitz two slices of bread in a blender to make breadcrumbs.
- Prepare three bowls, one with one beaten egg, one with the 2 tbsp of flour and one with the breadcrumbs.
- Prepare the dressing by whizzing the ingredients together in a blender or Nutribullet.
- "Blanche" the frozen peas in the microwave with a splash of water for 30secs.
- Heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and add in the bacon and the teaspoon of mustard, cook until caramelised.
- Add the mousseron and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add in the peas til heated through. Leave in pan to stay warm and set aside.
- Add the white wine or cider vinegar to a saucepan of water and bring to the boil.
- Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and add the eggs, lowering into the pan using a mug or cup to help maintain the shape.
- Poach until the white is cooked but the yolk is runny, remove from pan and place on kitchen towel to drain.
- Heat the sunflower or vegetable oil in a small saucepan until bubbling hot.
- Gently coat the egg in flour, then beaten egg and then the breadcrumbs.
- Place on a slotted spoon and lower into the hot oil. The crispy poached egg should take 10sec or less to cook.
- Set on kitchen towel to drain.
- Arrange the mousseron, pea and bacon mixture into a circle on a plate and place the crispy poached egg in the middle.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with the dressing to serve.
Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!