Monday, 27 April 2020

Cooking with Blue Feet


In early March I took an American travel agent to meet Julien Delalande, the owner of the mushroom caves at Bourré. She was checking out the area with a view to bringing tourists to experience this unusual underground farm.

 Wood Blewits in cultivation in the caves.
Wood Blewit Lepista nuda in cultivation.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

While I was there I took the opportunity to buy some wood blewits (known as pieds bleus in French, which translates as 'blue feet'). Les Caves Champignonnieres des Roches are virtually the only place now growing these gourmet mushrooms and they mostly go to high end chefs. I am lucky enough to be able pick them up for €10 a kilo at the caves.

Cave grown Wood Blewits.
Cave grown Wood Blewit Lepista nuda.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The pied bleu ('blue foot' or Wood Blewit Clitocybe nuda) is native to this area and can be found wild in the forest. However, grown in the caves they remain white and do not develop the violet colour, which is apparently a reaction to warm days. They also remain unmolested by fly larvae and slugs. Chefs love them because they retain a firm, almost crunchy texture when cooked, and will keep up to 10 days in the fridge in good condition.

Cave grown Wood Blewits, fried with onions.
Cave grown Wood Blewit Lepista nuda, cooked with onions.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

At home in the kitchen I brushed them off, cut them into quarters and fried them with onions. Then I seared some strips of beef that had been dredged in flour, added the mushrooms and onions, some beef stock, a dollop of tomato paste, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a generous pinch of thyme and lots of paprika. Once the flavours had developed and everything cooked I added a little pot of plain yoghurt to make stroganoff. Serve with buttered noodles.

Recipe inspired by Thyme for Cooking.

Further reading: The Mushroom Caves at Bourré -- a blog post I wrote a few years ago.


Yum

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2 comments:

Rhodesia said...

They look interesting. Stay safe Diane

Susan said...

They are a very good culinary mushroom.

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