from $6/lb.; farwestfungi.com; visit website to order and to find far West fungi's farmers' market locations; or stop by the shop in San Francisco's Ferry Building. For other exotic mushroom sources, see page 74.
Wild mushroom and butternut squash bread pudding SERVES 8 TO 10 ABOUT 1 3/4 HOURS This works really well as a vegetarian main dish too. 3 cups cubed butternut squash, cut into 1/4-in. chunks 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided 1 tsp. pepper, divided About 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed well 2 garlic cloves, minced 3/4 lb. mixed wild mushrooms, sliced 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves 6 cups cubed rustic white bread, cut into 1-in. cubes. Lightly toasted 3 cups half-and-half 4 large eggs 1 tbsp. flour 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese 1. Preheat oven to 375[degrees]. Heap squash on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 2. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic with 1/4tsp. salt; cook until softened. Add garlic, cook 2 minutes, and add mixture to squash. 3. Melt remaining 2 tbsp. butter in same pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in thyme. 4. Add mushrooms to squash-leek mixture. 5tir in bread; scoop into a buttered 9- by 13-in. baking dish. 5. Whisk together half-and-half, eggs, remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4tsp. pepper, the flour, and parmesan in a medium bowl. Pour custard over bread mixture and let stand 10 minutes. Top with gruyere, then bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and beginning to brown and custard is just set (poke with a knife to check), 30 to 35 minutes. Make ahead: Through step 4,1 day ahead, covered and chilled; or finish bread pudding t day ahead, chill, and reheat at 375[degrees]/or 30 minutes. PER SERVING 329 CAL., 58% (190 CAL.) FROM FAT: 12 G PROTEIN, 21 G FAT (12 G SAT.); 24 G CAR60 (2.2 G FIEER); S08 MG SODIUM; 137 MG CHOL.
Mushroom, chicory, and celery-root salad SERVES 8 TO 10 | 1 HOUR Make the dressing directly in a storage jar the day before 1 1/2 lbs. mixed wild and cultivated mushrooms such as mistake, oyster, and king trumpet 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 garlic clove 2 tsp. whole-grain mustard 1 tsp. honey 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar 8 oz. celery root 12 cups loosely packed chicories, such as escarole and radicchio, leaves torn into bite- size pieces 1. Preheat oven to 375 [degrees]. Wipe dirt off mushrooms, trim tough stems, and cut large mushrooms to make all pieces about the same size. Toss in a bowl with 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until browned, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool. 2. Make dressing: Sprinkle peeled garlic clove with remaining V4 tsp. salt, mince, and then flatten with side of chefs knife into a paste. Scrape paste into ajar with a tight-fitting lid and add mustard, honey, thyme, vinegar, and remaining 1/4 cup oil. Cap jar and shake until emulsified. 3. Peel celery root, then cut into matchsticks, dropping them into a bowl of water to prevent darkening. Pat dry, then put in a large salad bowl and add chicories and mushrooms. Toss gently with dressing. Make ahead: Dressing, up to 1 day ahead, chilled. Prep vegetables 1 day ahead (chill celery root matchsticks in water), then dress just before serving. PER SERVING 1S6 CAL., 64% (100 CAL.) FROM FAT; 3.5 G PROTEIN; 12 G FAT (1.7 G SAT.); 13 G CARBO (6.6 G FIBER); 159 MG SODIUM; 0 MC CHOL.
RELATED ARTICLE: Tips for great-tasting mushrooms
CLEANING Wipe mushrooms with a moist paper towel. Don't wash or brush, which can damage them. If you see a lot of compacted dirt, scrape it off with a knife.
STORING Use a paper bag, not plastic--which doesn't let them breathe, so they soften and rot. Even if you forget them in the paper bag, they won't be bad, just dried, and you can reconstitute them in hot water.