Gill Meller’s hedgehog mushrooms on toast is a bite on the wild side
“My friend Johan has shown me some really good spots to gather this well-textured, yet delicate wild mushroom.
It seems to grow well on the soft, earthy floor of shaded evergreen woodlands and on the high, tree-lined banks you so often see in Devon.
Hedgehog mushrooms are almost impossible to mistake, being light leather in colour and the only common wild mushroom with spines instead of gills.”
• 250-300g hedgehog mushrooms
• 2 slices sourdough, or other good-quality bread
• 1 generous knob butter, plus extra for the toast
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
• freshly ground black pepper
1 Trim the earthy base away from the mushrooms and brush off any grit, soil or little leaves – it’s best not to wash the mushrooms unless you really have to. Slice, toast and butter the sourdough.
2 Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. When it’s hot, throw in the hedgehogs and season with salt and pepper.
3 These mushrooms have quite a high water content, so cook them, tossing occasionally, for 3–4 minutes until the water in them has evaporated.
4 Now clear a small space in the pan into which you can place the large knob of butter.
5 When the butter is bubbling, add the sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute in the space in the pan, to soften a little, before tossing everything together.
6 Add the chopped parsley leaves to the pan and stir everything through to combine. Pile the mushrooms on the toast, dividing them equally between the two slices, and serve straight away.
Recipe courtesy of Gill Meller, extracted from Gather. Photography via Andrew Montgomery.