Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Easy champignon (side)dish and a reflection on breakfast

If you have questions like "What to do with a box of small champignons?", "Any ideas for an easy side dish?", "What should I do with all the herbes de Provance I bought at Lafayette at my food adventure trip to Paris?" bouncing in your mind then read on...

Eat breakfast yourself, share lunch with a friend, and give your supper to your enemy - a common sense food mantra that has stood the test of time.

Anyone who travels a lot for work and does not have time to wonder around the place you are visiting looking for a nice corner café, they face the decision of taking breakfast at the hotel. The hotel breakfasts trigger a ton of emotions: "Too expensive", "I don´t eat that much as the buffet offers", "Oh, it takes too long when they fry the eggs and toast the toast", "Yum, look at all the choice", "Who eats all these cakes for breakfast?", "I´m going for full English breakfast", "This coffee is rubbish", "Do you serve haggis at breakfast?", "Don´t embarrass yourself asking for a cappucino after 10am", "Oh, this freshly made bread is delicious", "I am definitely having breakfast, it´s not every day I get the catalan pa amb tomàque", "Toast soldiers, old school", "A view to the Alps and what a choice of cheeses, paradise on earth", "Do they really have freshly pressed carrot juice here, incredible!", etc, etc.

In fact,  as breakfast is such an important element for a successful day, the ease of getting hold of breakfast and what the breakfast offers is an essential component in choosing the hotel.

In my food memory bank there is one from the richest choice breakfast buffets from Sobieski hotel years ago in the Polish capital Warsaw that now is a SAS Radisson hotel. Last year I had a chance to stay there again and the change of the name had not changed their focus from offering great breakfast to their customers. The large breakfast room  was packed with happy eaters.

In Barcelona, the right crusty toasted bread with fresh tomato is simply addictive like valerian for a cat.

In small hotels in the UK, if you are lucky, the traveller can enjoy a plate of freshly prepared full English breakfast, with bacon and eggs, mushrooms, tomato, beans, sausage and black pudding. I leave the English breakfast for the pleasures of travelling. I wonder who cooks a full English breakfast at home. I probably never will. Too many calories and quite a lot of effort with all those pots and pans. Oat porrige gets a thumbs up for home breakfast any time, especially in the northern latitudes.

The sauteed button mushrooms provide a nice alternative for bacon to pair with the eggs. At home having mushrooms for breakfast is probably less common. More often they figure at lunch or dinner, often as a replacement for meat or as a side dish. This brings us to today´s recipe. An easy to prepare way of

Sauteed champignons
Ingredients for 2 portions as side dish:
250g smaller size champignons, cleaned, halved or quartered
25g butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
sea salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp dry herbes de Provence

Heat the butter in a low pan.
Add the champignions and cook on one side for a couple of minutes before stirring to let them take on a brownish colour. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes. The champignons should become slightly moist.
Add lemon juice, let it evaporate.
Add herbes de Provance, the honey and stir.
Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper.

Serve immediately.
If you need to serve later, I would let the champignons cook for longer and cook out the water. The mushrooms will let out some water and keep cooking without a lid to let the liquid evaporate.