This mushroom is both unappealing in looks and name . . . and its texture doesn’t help either. As a result it is often dismissed by guide books, but with a little imagination it can make a great dish – better still it is available in mid-winter . . .
Like many small bracket fungi, this tends to be dismissed as uninteresting and rubbery in many books. The appearance certainly doesn’t help and the water pockets within the flesh have a tendency to explode in hot fat – which can also be off-putting. But to write it off as a waste of time is unfair because it has a good flavour and better still it is available almost all round the year. This recipe sidesteps the texture problem by shredding the mushroom finely. It also works particularly well in stir fries (a close relative is a common ingredient in Chinese cooking), although in this case the inspiration came from Italy rather than the Far East.
100g Jew’s ear
1 Clove garlic
1 handful Fresh basil
300g Good quality dried pasta
Cook the pasta, meanwhile shred the Jew’s ear, chop the chilli and garlic. Stir fry in olive oil for three or four minutes (take care – the mushrooms can explode, showering anything close with hot fat). Drain the pasta and then add it to the Jew’s ear, garlic and chilli. Stir to coat with the juices, add the juice and zest of the lemon, garnish with shredded basil and serve.