If you are a mushroom hunter like me or simply enjoy strolling through the woods with the crunch of leaves beneath your feet, every Autumn offers an incredible array of edibles gathered during your outing that are ideal for roasting, especially roasted mushrooms. Today, many cooks grow their own mushrooms, while other cooks support farmers' markets. It is surprising how many farmers now sell wild mushrooms gathered from their pastures. If you harvest your mushrooms from the local grocery store, that is fine, purchase an assortment. Combining fresh produce from the earth with that from fruiting trees makes a wonderful savory dish to accompany chicken, steak, chops, or your holiday roast turkey. This is pure natural goodness that can even become the main dish.
Make Garlic-Infused Oil a day or two in advance and refrigerate. Fresh mushrooms blend well with creamy yellow potatoes. Choose a variety of flavorful mushrooms so that roasting enhances them. Diminutive Seckel Pears are also called Sugar Pears or Candy Pears. Powerhouses of sweet-tart flavor, they taste even better when roasted as do lady apples! However, if unavailable, substitute firm ripe pears and apples, cut into quarters lengthwise. Adjust quantities as convenient for you.
Celebrate Autumn and the Holidays with Roasted Mushrooms, Potatoes, Seckel Pears, and Lady Apples, garnished with walnuts. A favorite chef's tip of mine is to anoint with drops of walnut oil just before serving. Gathered from the countryside means serving country-style by placing roasting pans directly on the table, watch delighted guests tuck in with zeal.
4 servings. Roasting time is 20 minutes for potatoes. Then add whole seckel pears and lady apples, roast for 10 minutes. Then add seckel pear and lady apple halves or quarters, roast for 10 minutes. Then add mushrooms, roast for 10 minutes. Total roasting time is 50 minutes.
10 ounces (283 g) baby Yukon Gold or small yellow potatoes, skin-on, split in half (12 pieces)
Lightly salted boiling water for potatoes
4 ounces (113 g) fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, whole, split, and/or quartered
4 ounces (113 g) king oyster or other oyster mushrooms, whole or split lengthwise
4 ounces (113 g) maitake, split or quartered
(or chanterelles, hen-of-the-woods, puffballs, shaggy manes, etc.)
6 seckel pears, whole or split (6 small-medium = 8 ounces)
4 small lady apples, whole or split (4 small = 4 ounces)
Garlic-Infused Oil: Make as much as you like, many uses
Extra-virgin olive oil
Garlic cloves, whole, peeled, split
Dried chili pepper
Coriander seeds, lightly crushed
Cracked black peppercorns
4 fresh bay leaves
8 short-length fresh rosemary sprigs
Candied walnuts or toasted walnuts
Dried cranberries or blueberries or raisins
Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt grains
Fresh coarsely ground black pepper
1. Garlic-Infused Oil: Place garlic cloves in a bowl, add other ingredients to taste, and cover with olive oil. Cover well and refrigerate for at least one day or until ready to use. Remains excellent for several days.
Preparation of Potatoes: Bring lightly salted water to a rolling boil in a pot. Add the raw potato halves and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until they can barely be pierced with a sharp knife tip and are firm in their centers. Remove and drain. In a large mixing bowl, toss the blanched potatoes with the Garlic-Infused Olive Oil. Season to taste. Pour into the ovenproof roasting pan and spread-out in one layer. Make sure the bottom of the pan glistens with a little water and oil; this should prevent burning during roasting.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C/Gas Mark 6. Place the roasting pan with the potatoes in the center of the oven. Roast for 20 minutes. While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the pears and apples. Clean and trim the mushrooms as needed, leave them whole or split.
Remove the pan from the oven, add whole seckel pears and whole lady apples, toss ingredients together then spread out in a single layer, roast for 10 minutes. Then if including, add seckel pears and lady apples halves, or quarters, for 10 minutes. Add mushrooms for 10 minutes. Total roasting time is 50 minutes. When finished all ingredients are piping hot, and the pears and apples are cooked through but not mushy.
Optional: Just before serving, add drops of walnut oil over the roasted mushrooms, potatoes, pears, and apples. Add the walnuts and other garnishes as you wish. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve Roasted Mushrooms, Potatoes, Seckel Pears, and Lady Apples with Walnuts while hot or warm.