By Francine Cohen
Photo courtesy of Blackberry Farm
Condiments. One of the best concepts in the food world. An excuse to add an additional flavor and/or texture component to a dish that completes it. Like the perfect garnish on a cocktail. Or your favorite accessory that finishes an outfit when you’re all revved up for a great night out. These little extras are what sets you, and your cooking and drink making apart from all others.
For food producers being set apart from all others courtesy of the recognition that comes with a James Beard nod is nice. So too are recommendations and accolades from Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Food Network and Wine Spectator. But what really capitulates a condiment (and its creator) into the stratosphere is umami- that indescribably delicious taste that forces you to crave more, more, more!
That’s the kind of praise we’d like to heap upon Blackberry Farm’s (www.blackberryfarm.com) mushroom spread. Chef Joseph Lenn, Executive Chef at this award-winning and highly sought after Tennessee destination, does an exquisite job of marrying local mushrooms with just a hint of tang to produce an earthy and hearty spread you’ll want to indulge in at every meal. Fortunately mushrooms, much like pork, have a place in a multitude of dishes.
Lenn explains, “This spread was born at The Barn’s dining room as a healthy alternative to butter, and is the result of finding stunning fungi in the hills on-site. It’s delicious on a baguette, or mixed into polenta, risotto or pasta.”
He continues, “Here are simple and easy tips on how to use this new condiment.
• Start your morning off right with simply mixing the mushroom spread into scrambled eggs, the flavors give the eggs a perfect earthiness.
• Mix into a hot risotto or fresh pasta
• Toss with roasted beets and olive oil for a southern summer salad
• Put in a pie shell with your favorite fresh cheese and make a savory pie. For a simple pie with just mushroom spread and cheese, place in the 350 degree oven for 12 – 15 minutes or until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted.
• Stuff underneath chicken skin and roast in a broiler until skin is nice and crispy. Then finish in an oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 – 20 minutes or until internally the meat is at 160 degrees. Let the breast rest for 10 minutes on a warm platter.”
We’ve also enjoyed this at breakfast with our eggs as Lenn recommends, as a bread spread for turkey sandwiches, and probably our favorite way (way too many times) – just spooned onto some toast points and accompanied by a big glass of red wine.
However you choose to enjoy it we know you will. By the way, we recommend buying more than one jar at a time; you’d hate to run out.