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Forest floor fry-up from In Praise of Veg

Servings: 4
One of my strongest memories of autumn is going mushroom picking with my parents in Victoria’s High Country, then spending the afternoon pinching pine needles off slippery jacks and saffron milk caps (a.k.a. pine mushrooms) with great anticipation for dinner, where any ’shrooms that didn’t end up in pickle jars would be fried up with potato and smetana (sour cream) to look something like this. Well, the 1990s new- migrant kitchen version, at least – less fancy cast iron, more 40-year-old enamel – spiked with sour pickles or gherkins to cut through the richness of it all. It’s a great way to use up left-over parboiled potatoes. In fact, I like to boil up some extra spuds whenever I’m cooking them, just to use them in a dish like this.


  • 600 g kipfler (fingerling) potatoes
  • 4 French shallots finely chopped
  • 150 g butter
  • 500 g mixed exotic and/or wild mushrooms such as shiitake, oyster, enoki, king brown, slippery jacks, pine (see tips)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ bunch of dill roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 80 g sour cream roughly chopped
  • sour pickles to serve


  • Pop the potatoes into a saucepan, with just enough cold, well-salted water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20–25 minutes, until fork-tender.
  • Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, sweat the shallot in 100 g (3½ oz) of the butter over medium–low heat for 5 minutes, or until golden. Set aside in a large bowl.
  • Leaving the residual butter gloss in the pan, brown the mushrooms over medium–high heat in batches to keep them sizzling successfully, splashing in a few teaspoons of olive oil each time. Add to the bowl of shallot.
  • Drain the potatoes, chop into bite-sized pieces and fry in the remaining 50 g (1¾ oz) butter for about 4 minutes, until starting to get crispy. Toss the shallot and mushrooms through, then stir in the dill (reserve a few fronds for garnishing), salt and cracked pepper.
  • Dollop with the sour cream, scatter with pickles and reserved dill and serve.


When in season, slippery jacks and pine mushrooms are scrumptious here, but any edible mushrooms of different shapes and textures will work.
Sour pickles cut through the richness and add colour to the dish. Look for brands where vinegar is low on the list; ‘dill pickles’ are always good.
Double duty
Reheat any leftovers in a non-stick frying pan with olive oil or butter until they start getting crispy bits again, then pour 2 beaten eggs per person over the top. Pop under a hot grill (broiler) and you’ll have yourself the world’s quickest potato tortilla (if you don’t count Ferran Adrià’s version using potato crisps).

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