January 10, 2018 • RECIPE, Southern Travel
Let’s Eat, Y’all: A Seared Wild Mushroom Recipe From Nashville’s Butcher & Bee
Nashville is known for a lot of things: country music, Vanderbilt University, Johnny Cash, and, of course, the food.
And one of our favorite things to do in Nashville (besides posing with the #DraperJamesBlue wall) is to explore the food scene.
This exploration brought us to Butcher & Bee–the sequel to the Charleston, South Carolina restaurant–and Chef Bryan Weaver, who shared with us his seared wild mushroom recipe.
Tell us about this recipe.
I really wanted to have a dish featuring mushrooms on the menu. We started in the spring time with morels and chantrelles, which both were amazing…. but my chef de cuisine Chris DeJesus had the idea to use these Abelone mushrooms for the dish. We get them from Washington state from an awesome supplier called Foods in Season.
They are very large… like the size of two fists, and we essentially treat them like a steak. We sear them very hard in butter to get some nice color on them and then drop them in the oven until they get very tender, and then finish them by basting them in even more butter. We use a spiced labneh on the bottom of the plate to add even more richness and a pickled green tomato jam.
We top it with a bunch of manchego cheese and spicy sunflower seeds. A lot of texture and flavor, but when you cut into the mushroom, it feels like a steak, or even a scallop. It is very luxurious, and you can barely tell you’re eating vegetables.
What’s your favorite part about having a Nashville location?
I love the community and the creative energy here in Nashville. Since moving here, the other chefs and restaurant folks have really embraced what we are doing and are incredibly supportive and ready to help at the drop of a hat.
Obviously the music is a huge draw, but there are also a loft of amazing artists, craftsmen, tech people, etc. who are really adding to the culture of the city.
Is there anything that makes this recipe or this restaurant uniquely Southern?
While we have never set out to make “Southern food” here…being in the South gives us access to an incredible number of ingredients and purveyors that we have to take advantage of. We have a good relationship with Glenn Roberts at Anson Mills and always feature his products in our dishes. I personally try to take some of the history and traditions and put my own spin on them.
There is a lot of preserving and pickling that goes on in my kitchen; we serve fried chicken, but not just a standard buttermilk fried chicken. We always like to put a little bit of our own spin on everything.
Seared Wild Mushroom Recipe
For the labna (this will yield more than you need, but it’s great on bagels or toast for breakfast)
2 cups labna (if you can’t find labna, greek yogurt would work as well)
1 teaspoon aleppo chile flakes (cayenne is a great substitute)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Pickled Green Tomato Jam
You could buy a jar of pickled green tomatoes from the store. If you happen to have your own green tomato pickles, even better. We simmer about a pint of the pickles with a 1/2 cup of sugar and a cup of the pickling liquid for 30 minutes. Then we blend everything until smooth.
For the Spiced Sunflower seeds
Toast 1 cup of sunflower seeds in 350 degree oven until golden brown. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl while still hot and toss with 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
For the Manchego cheese
You should be able to find it at Whole foods, if not, Parmesan is just fine. It will be grated over the top of the mushroom.
The abelone mushrooms we get are a specialty product and will likely be hard to find, but this works great with portobellos! Also, this really works with any type of mushroom. You just need to saute them in a heavy amount of butter until they are golden brown.
To complete the recipe
Put a well of labneh on the bottom of the plate and a circle of the green tomato jam around the outside of the labna. Place the cooked mushrooms on top of the labneh and grate the cheese over the top. Sprinkle the sunflower seeds to finish. Any kind of picked herbs or chives work really well for garnish if you like.