So often when I cruise my local produce section, I pass the mushrooms by without so much as a glance; not because I don’t respect the modest toadstool, but because I become so distracted with the rest of Mother Nature’s bounty. I’m sure many of you are the same.
And while mushrooms have been used medicinally and culinarily in Eastern medicine for ages, most westerners are just now beginning to catch up; as the healing properties of mushrooms are beginning to be demonstrated scientifically. Oh yes, us westerners NEED science to back anything up before we believe.
There are three standout varieties of mushrooms that boast the greatest health benefits, Maitake, Shiitake and Renshi; and they’ve all been shown to have powerful effects on the immune system. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that mushrooms have such amazing medicinal capacity; as they are fungus that scavenges on organic matter, able to absorb and safely eliminate toxins.
Now you are probably looking at the photo above and thinking, “Bianca, those aren’t either one of the aforementioned mushrooms”; and you’d be right. But the little prosaic mushroom, that is the cremini, has the power to stand up to its medicinally famous family members. Well, hear this; cremini mushrooms are super dense with nutrients. One 5 oz serving (dry weight) provides more than 50% of the daily value for selenium, 40% for riboflavin, 35% copper, 30% niacin and 25% for pantothenic acid, phosphorus and zinc; and boasts trace amounts of magnesium, calcium, folate, B12 and iron- so you see cremini’s also deserve their time in the spotlight, and they are incredibly easy to find!
This recipe not only highlights the potency of mushrooms; but also some of summers beautiful bounty! Alberta has the fortune of having some of the best corn growing weather in the country; and, for me, summer means Taber corn. Green beans also happen to be a quintessential summer food for me. And when green beans, corn cut straight from the cob, and mushrooms are combined in this, one of my favorite summer fresh salad recipes, deliciousness ensues. Toxin scavenging never tasted so good!
Summer Fresh Salad Recipes~ Corn, Green Bean, Mushrooms
3 large ears fresh corn, shucked and kernels cut off
¾ lb thin green beans, stems trimmed
1 shallot, finely diced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
½ lb fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced to your liking
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp coconut oil
Bring a medium pot of water to boil; submerge the corn for 30 seconds and remove with a fine mesh strainer. Season the water generously with salt and add the green beans; and cook until tender, about 2 minutes- or until the beans are the most vibrant of green, then strain. Set both aside
For the vinaigrette, blend the shallot, chives, olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice and sea salt to a well combined mixture.
Gently rub the mushrooms clean- mushrooms are sponges, so if you wash them you will water log them. Heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan, heated on medium heat; add the mushrooms and cook until tender and golden brown- 7-10 minutes; being careful not to stir too often, which will inhibit browning. Once done, move the mushrooms to the side and add the garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then mix in mushrooms, and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the corn, mushrooms and vinaigrette and toss until everything is well coated. Adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve!