If you’ve been following the blog this year, you may have read about our relationship with Rhode Island Mushroom Company. It started a year ago with a CSA for a few dozen customers after an intern of mine had the idea to do a mushroom CSA. At that point RI Mushroom Co was mostly selling to high-end chefs and Whole Foods. Now they are cultivating (notice I said “cultivating,” – mushroom people don’t like the term “growing”) over 800 pounds of mushrooms each week for Clover.
I used to hate mushrooms. I would peel back some saran wrap and there would be mushrooms with little droplets of water clinging to them in a little styrofoam container. I started getting interested in mushrooms after a friend of mine gave me some mushrooms he had foraged.
Now I see cardboard boxes of mushrooms with vents arriving every day from Rhode Island, and watch our employees cutting and cooking them to order many times per day, and I realize how important freshness is for this kind of a product. A fresh mushroom isn’t slimy, it isn’t limp. It’s firm and tastes clean. And there are so many varieties, and each has an incredible range of flavors and textures.
We started with Blue Oysters. You may have had these if you’ve eaten at fine dining restaurants or if you’re buying it in a store for $15 per pound. They’re really special. We worked with Creminis for the Sunchoke Mushroom Sandwich because they hold up well to roasting. Then Chris started playing around with Shiitakes, which reminded him of Chinese American food, and hoisin-dip. We tasted this Shiitake Mushroom Sandwich 2 weeks ago at the Food Dev Meeting. It has fried shiitakes, cheddar, a turmeric-basil dressing, and shredded daikon and carrot from Michael Docter. We’re launching it everywhere this week. Keep an eye on the Live Menu to see when it hits a Clover near you and tell us what you think of it if you try it.
If people continue to love these mushroom experiments, we may consider having a different mushroom sandwich permanently on the menu. So tell us: what is your favorite way to eat mushrooms?