There has been a lot of talk about whether I have betrayed my background by cooking too much posh food, and even speaking with a posh accent.
I remember once I was on a talk show in England called Richard & Judy. Judy Finnigan, the co-host, turned to me and said: "Marco, you're much more softly spoken than I imagined you would be, whatever happened to your northern English accent?"
"When you've kissed as many girls in Chelsea as I have, something's got to rub off," I told her.
But to be honest, I still feel close to my old hometown of Leeds in Yorkshire. I now even own a restaurant there, The Box Tree, the second restaurant I ever worked in, and I support the local cooking community with appearances at events and help whenever I can. I like to think of myself as someone who is loyal to his roots but also capable of improvement, or even refinement, rather like the dish in this week's column: posh mushrooms on toast.
Well you've got to put something on your toast, haven't you? Whether it's jam or marmite or eggs. Mushrooms on toast is one of the great versatile meals; it can be breakfast, supper or a perfect light lunch. It is such an ideal staple meal; easy, nutritious and delicious.
I have refined the classic recipe, enhancing it with either a Béarnaise sauce, pictured, or a tarragon and butter option listed in the recipe here. Either will lift the mushrooms into another zone altogether, trust me. I love the whole mystery surrounding mushrooms, the fact that they can delight or poison you in equal measure. I find picking mushrooms so exciting, there is something thrilling about finding the perfect porcini. But beware, mushroom poisoning is not funny; I once ate a bad 'un and was sick for three days.
I hope you enjoy my posh mushrooms, and remember, there's always room for refinement, when it comes to the beautiful mushroom, or even me!
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr has new menu items, including the posh mushrooms on toast and the roasted tomato soup, featured last week. Open daily from 7pm to 1am. For more information or to make a reservation, call 02 654 3238 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
MAKE IT YOURSELF
Posh mushrooms on toast
Tarragon butter or Béarnaise sauce
Mushroom ragout (recipe below)
6 soft poached eggs
200g King crab meat
6 slices toasted bread cut into rounds
200g button mushrooms
100g morel mushrooms
100g chanterelle mushrooms
1 white onion, small (diced)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
400ml beef stock
75ml double cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt the butter in a large pan and sauté the onions and garlic until lightly browned.
2. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté, letting the mushrooms cook for around 10 minutes to allow the water in them to cook out and evaporate.
3. Once the mushrooms have started to brown, deglaze the pan with about half of the beef stock. Let the liquid reduce in the pan by three-quarters.
4. Add the rest of the stock to the mushrooms and simmer until the mixture has reduced again and started to thicken.
5. Finish with the cream, salt and pepper.
1 tbsp fresh chopped tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter gently and add the tarragon. Season.
Place the toast rounds into the bottom of a large bowl, spoon the mushroom ragout onto the toast and top with the soft poached egg. Spread the crab meat around the toast rounds and finish by spooning a generous amount of tarragon butter or Béarnaise sauce over the egg.