Kreef Tail and Textures of Mushroom

Words: Jess Spiro

This recipe for Kreef Tail in a Mushroom Butter with Fermented Smoked Oyster Mushrooms, Mushroom Pickle and Mushroom Aïoli showcases mushrooms beautifully. Created by Chef Arno Janse.

Kreef Tail in a Mushroom Butter with Fermented Smoked Oyster Mushrooms, Mushroom Pickle and Mushroom Aïoli

Serves: 4
Difficulty: a little effort
Prep time: 90 minutes (+ pickling and fermenting time)
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Fermented Smoked Oyster Mushrooms
100 g oyster mushrooms, gently cleaned of any dirt
1 g salt

Mushroom Pickle
¼ C (60 ml) apple cider vinegar
40 g sugar
1 tsp (about 4 g) salt
3-4 (about 50 g) oyster mushrooms, gently cleaned of any dirt

Mushroom Aïoli
1 egg yolk
1 tsp (5 ml) kombu vinegar (see note)
2 g Dijon mustard
1/3 C (80 ml) canola oil

Mushroom Butter
150 g fresh oyster mushrooms, gently cleaned of any dirt
20 g butter
1 Tbs + 1 tsp (20 ml) lemon juice

4 kreef tails, cleaned, deveined and removed from shell

Fermented Smoked Oyster Mushrooms

Start the fermented mushrooms roughly 6 days before you wish to serve the dish.

Set up a smoker if you have one. Alternatively, make your own smoker by using a roasting dish large enough to fit a trivet or cooling rack. Lightly sprinkle a thin layer of wood chips (available at any hardware store) over the bottom of a roasting tray and set a small portion of the chips alight. Gently blow out the flame ensuring that a bit of smoke begins to waft.

If there isn’t enough smoke, simply light the chips again and blow out to make more. Place the trivet or cooling rack over the chips and place 100 g mushrooms on the rack. Cover the homemade smoker with tin foil and leave to smoke for about 10 minutes.

Once smoked, remove half of the mushrooms (around 50 g) and place in an container that you can close. Sprinkle with the gram of salt and close the lid. Leave to ferment out of the fridge, checking on the progress after 3 days. If the ferment is coming along nicely, pop the container in the fridge or if it needs more time, leave out of the fridge until nicely fermented. Store the remaining smoked mushrooms in the fridge until closer to serving time.

Mushroom Pickle

The night before serving the dish, make the pickled mushrooms. In a small saucepan, heat together the apple cider vinegar, the sugar and the salt, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a minute. Put 50 g (about 3 or 4) mushrooms in sterilized jar and pour over the hot pickling liquid, seal and leave out of the fridge overnight.

Mushroom Aïoli

Heat a frying pan and dry toast the 50 g of smoked mushrooms, remove from the heat and chop finely. Place in a food processor and add the egg yolks, kombu vinegar, Dijon mustard and a touch of salt and pepper.

Blitz together once, then slowly add the oil to emulsify to create a mayonnaise. Check the flavor and correct with more vinegar and salt and pepper if necessary.

Mushroom Butter

Char the oyster mushrooms over a grill pan or frying pan. Place in a food processor and blend until fine, then add the butter and lemon juice and blend to form a smooth butter.

To Serve

When ready to serve, heat a frying pan to a medium-high heat, melt the mushroom butter and fry the kreef tail until golden in colour and cooked throughout. This shouldn’t take too long so be sure not to overcook.

Halve the kreef tails and divide between four plates. Place a few blobs of the mushroom aïoli in between the kreef, top with the fermented mushrooms and the mushroom pickle.

Note: You can buy kombu vinegar at any well-stocked Asian supermarket. Alternatively, you can make your own by adding a 10 g piece of kombu (seaweed readily available from Asian supermarkets) to 100 ml of good quality apple cider vinegar and leaving it to infuse for about an hour.
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