There is that all too familiar buzz in the air. Can you feel it? Welcome to November friends, the calendar month equivalent of a musical crescendo. The pace has quickened and our slow march up the 2017 slope now feels more like a trail run and trying to keep pace with a life inexplicably increasing in volume and intensity is simply exhausting. It also makes me feel rather frenetic, this trying to squeeze everything in and still look like I am finishing with a flourish. To calm down, I count the days to my holiday. As of today, there are only 31 more to go.
That this post is popping up at this time of year after seemingly months of hibernation is as surprising to me as it must be to you. I have been having a weird sort of relationship with this blog. I thought that maybe we had broken up for good. I was pondering deep thoughts about its purpose and reason for being whilst also questioning what more I could add that wouldn’t just be more of the same. I was having far too many emotions and opinions about food bloggers, most of which which made me question whether or not I really wanted to be one.
I have been so lucky to have had much work over the past year and that gave me a convenient excuse to neglect Pomegranate Days. Convenient, but not entirely truthful. I have continually found myself called back here. The steady page visits, the genuinely lovely comments and many other small reminders have stopped me many times from cutting the proverbial (-blogging) cord for good. I think I may be glad I never did.
A short while ago I was contacted by the South African Mushrooms Farmers’ Association to take part in their festive mushroom recipe campaign. I immediately said yes, because sometimes you just need to give yourself a kick in the pants, you know? I also happen to be a huge fan of mushrooms.
I am a firm believer that our festive tables should reflect our climate and our lifestyle. Christmas in South Africa is hot and generally spent outdoors, either soaking up the summer sun or hiding away from it at shady, al fresco tables. I wanted to create a dish that spoke of summer and festivity and South Africa; one that I could imagine feeling excited to eat this holiday season.
I am in love with how this Balsamic & Soya Portabellini Mushroom Salad turned out. Portabellini mushrooms are one of my favorite mushroom varieties. Portabellinis are rich and earthy and hold up their shape well once cooked which is why I chose them for this salad as I really wanted them to stand out. The dressing is lush and rich and exquisite with the mushrooms. As for the rest of the ingredients, choose whatever is at its very best, there are no rules with this salad, it is yours to reinvent. I added the pomegranate gems as a little wink to the blog, but they added sublime pops of color and a tartness which just worked.
The South African Mushrooms Farmers’ Association have invited a few other bloggers to showcase their own festive mushroom recipes using white button, portabellini, big brown or baby button mushrooms. You can follow along using the hashtag #festivemushrooms on Twitter or Instagram or check out the SAMFA Facebook page from November 13th, 2017 to December 13th, 2017 where you will be able to vote for your favorite recipe and stand a chance of winning just by casting your vote.
It is always a pleasure to work with amazing local produce and in a small way to support our farmers by buying local. Please note that I have been reimbursed for this recipe. Both the original images and the recipe were purchased by and belong to SAMFA, published here with permission.
To have a chat with me regarding recipe development please drop me an email sam(at)pomegranatedays(dot)co(dot)za, I would love to hear from you.
It feels good to be back. I am pretty excited to hit publish after so very, very long.
- 10 ml (2 t) olive oil
- 45 ml (3 T) balsamic vinegar
- 30 ml (2 T) soya sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 30 ml (2 T) butter
- 250 g South African portabellini mushrooms, wiped clean
- 150 g mixed salad greens, washed and spun dry
- 250 g mixed exotic tomatoes, sliced in half
- 100 g new season baby vegetables, washed
- 45 ml (¼ C) pomegranate rubies
- Mix together the olive oil, balsamic, soya sauce and garlic and leave the dressing stand for ten minutes.
- Heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan.
- Add the whole portabellini mushrooms to the pan and toss until the mushrooms begin to soften and lightly brown in the pan.
- Pour the dressing into the pan, and toss gently until all the mushrooms are well coated.
- Bring the dressing to the boil for a minute or two until the mushrooms are cooked through and then remove the pan from the heat.
- Place the salad ingredients except for the pomegranate rubies into a bowl.
- Take two spoonfulls of dressing from the pan and pour over the salad leaves and toss to coat.
- Arrange the salad on a platter.
- Top with the portabellini mushrooms and sprinkle the salad with the pomegranate rubies.
- Serve immediately with the remaining dressing on the side.