Startling in appearance, the bluefoot mushroom (pied bleu in French) has a stem with a brilliant blue hue (though interior designers might call it closer to lilac).
The bluefoot is the cultivated cousin of the wild blewit (BLEW-it), whose color is concentrated more in the cap than the stem. The vibrant, eye-catching color of the stem fades quickly with time and exposure to heat. The caps and gills remain gray or tawny.
Both are valued for their woodsy, earthy flavor and firm though delicate texture, often described as velvety. The blewit is much more pungent in flavor and aroma and is available only briefly in early fall. Highly prized in Europe, the blewit rarely makes it stateside. The cultivated bluefoot is available infrequently.
HOW TO SELECT: Bluefoots should be firm and dry. Some bluefoots suffer from slight crumbling at the edge of the cap. Steer clear of bluefoots that appear shriveled or that have moist, soggy gills.
HOW TO STORE: These cultivated mushrooms are as finicky about their environment as they are elusive. If left too exposed, they become excessively dry; if kept in a closed environment, they retain moisture and become soggy. Place them on a plate or in a wire basket lined with paper towels and refrigerate, uncovered, for no more than three to five days.
Ontario mushrooms are the starts in this pasta appetizer, so use a variety for maximum impact. Leave small mushrooms whole and slice large ones.
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
Servings: 6 appetizers
- 6 sheets lasagna
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 2 cloves Ontario Garlic, minced
- 12 oz (375 g) mixed Ontario Mushrooms (crimini, shiitake, oyster and white button - remove woody stems from shiitake mushrooms), thickly sliced
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) balsamic vinegar
- 8 Ontario Greenhouse Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried basil
- Salt and freshly grated black pepper
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) chopped fresh parsley
- 12 curls freshly shaved Asiago or Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta in boiling water until tender.
Meanwhile, in large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic and mushrooms; cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly softened. Stir in vinegar and tomatoes; heat just until warm. Remove from heat. Season with basil and salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, drain pasta well in colander and toss with remaining 2 tbsp (25 mL) oil. Loosely fold 1 lasagna noodle in each shallow flat soup bowl or dinner plate. Scatter mushroom mixture over top. Sprinkle with parsley; garnish with shaved cheese. Serve immediately.