Making the most of discarded mushrooms in Montia

Carla Vidal


Dani Ochoa's Mountain Cuisine is committed to discovering the gastronomic potential of the ripest mushrooms, which are often discarded, thus contributing to the conservation of Madrid's mountains

At Montia* (San Lorenzo del Escorial, Madrid), Dani Ochoa has been practising a personalised mountain cuisine from the outset, in which he and his team have become true collectors and suppliers of plants and herbs for his restaurant. For some time now, his interest has been focused on mushrooms, where he has been looking for "the gastronomic value of each one of them, so that we don't just consume them as they are", explains the chef. On this voyage of discovery, Dani and his team discovered, during their foraging trips, that there were many mushrooms in the bush that were discarded because they were too big and too ripe. "These mushrooms are really interesting from a gastronomic point of view. In terms of texture, a smaller, tighter mushroom is firmer, but in terms of flavour, overripe mushrooms are very interesting", explained Dani Ochoa, who also pointed out that "picking these ripe mushrooms is a benefit for the forest, because they have already done their job".

To illustrate what he was saying, Ochoa prepared different dishes on the stage of Madrid Fusión Alimentos de España, all based on the same premise: "we are going to make dishes with mushrooms, but without mushrooms, we are not going to eat them per se, but we are going to use their properties". The result is a sea and mountain dish, based on sea urchins and pine forest chanterelles, "whose emulsifying properties we wanted to use to make a jelly, without the need for the mushroom to be perfect". Next, the Madrilenian prepared a dish in which "a powder of different types of mushrooms is used to make an express cure for a meat". In this case, it was a deer's heart that was "coated" with mushroom powder and left in a chamber overnight, which "not only cured it, but also gave it interesting flavours, depending on the quantity and type of mushrooms used, from sweet to spicy, or even cured, like Iberian ham. It's surprising", says Ochoa.

Finally, the chef referred to "the mushroom as a flavour enhancer, something that was common in many old recipes, where they were used to make broths". In this case, the Montia chef presents an egg with mushrooms, in which he has prepared a broth based on "mushrooms with blackish slices that give us more flavour and colour", which he has reduced to a demiglacé. “Pure umami", he says, "it tastes like soya and is 100% mushroom".






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