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Friday, April 15, 2011

mushrooms with verjuice

Verjuice is the juice of unripened grapes picked just before verasion, the stage at which the colour turns, generally about two months before harvest.  Verjuice is made in the following way:

Carefully wash and de-stork 1.5 kilo of grapes and drain thoroughly.
Whiz the grapes in batches in a food processor then press them through a fine sieve to remove the pulp and seeds. Pour the extracted juice into a jug and fill ice-cube trays. Freeze immediately to avoid oxidization. Yield = 700ml = 40 ice-cubes. Defrost and use as required.

Verjuice is used to deglaze the pan after cooking fish or chicken as an alternative to lemon juice. Also excellent in a salad dressing when a little tartness is required. It is both acidic and tart without being harsh and when heated it gets very sticky – great for an instant sheen! Verjuice is available commercially but it’s fun to make your own.

After cooking sliced mushrooms and garlic in a little extra-virgin olive oil, I add a good splash of verjuice. I rev the heat up to its highest point and cook them until the liquid is completely reduced and the mushrooms have taken on a brown sticky sheen. The subtle flavour of lemon juice compliments the mushrooms making the dish more interesting and adds a refreshing taste sensation. Parsley over the top after cooking is a must. Mushrooms, parsley, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and lemon is one of the TOP 10 dishes in the world for health and well-being.

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