Pesce ai Due Funghi
Monday 9 November 2015 — Category: Cooking & Food
Because I’m a gourmet chef wannabe who hasn’t mastered the art of cooking seafood, once in a while I like to treat myself to a meal at McGrath’s Fish House in Corvallis — about twenty minute’s drive away.
Occasionally I get inspired to try to imitate one of their dishes at home. A while back one of these experiments — which I christened Chunky Cajun Cream Sauce — turned out quite well.
More recently I had a meal there which I never would have imagined if I had not seen it, and eaten it, myself. For me, it was totally outside the box. More importantly, I felt it would not be hard to duplicate at home. I’m happy to report that it too was quite good, so now I’m sharing it with you.
The dish is actually quite easy. To prepare the topping, bring a small quantity of blue cheese and butter to room temperature. Take one tablespoon of each per person, and mash it together until well mixed. Set this blue cheese butter aside until the other foods are cooked.
Get a large portobello mushroom and cut the stem off flush with the body. Then gently fry it in some butter in a cast-iron skillet for maybe 20 to 30 minutes, occasionally and carefully turning it over to cook each side. You can sprinkle a bit of salt and garlic powder over it to give it some additional flavor.
While the mushroom is cooking, get some fish, and cook it however you want. The portobello will serve two, so adjust your quantities as necessary. I like to fry my fish, with some extra-virgin olive oil, in a cast-iron skillet at very high heat for just a few minutes (depending on how thick it is) on each side. At McGrath’s they served halibut; at home I used tilapia.
To serve, cut the portobello in half across its diameter, and place one of the halves on a plate with the black side facing up. Lay a piece of fish on top of the mushroom, and then top the fish with two tablespoons of the blue cheese butter. Serve with your favorite starch and veggie. For my meal, I made white rice, and stir-fried some zucchini with onion, bell pepper, garlic, and spices. Voilà!
I call this dish Pesce ai Due Funghi, which ends up being a play on words in Italian. Funghi can mean both ‘mushrooms’ and ‘funguses’. So the name could be translated as ‘Fish with Two Mushrooms’ or equally as ‘Fish with Two Funguses’.
As you can see from my description and the photos I took, the reality is that it is a combination of both. One of the ‘funghi’ is the portobello mushroom, and the other ‘funghi’ is the mold (fungus) in the blue cheese.
Never in a million years would I have thought of such a combination, but it makes a delicious and elegant alternative to the same o’ same o’. Give it a try and see what you think!