Yerseke deep-fries for England
Home cooks have it easy these days. In the past, if you wanted to eat stuffed mushrooms, you had to go to the greengrocer’s for large mushrooms, to the cheese shop for good cheese and to the butcher’s for bacon. Nowadays, stuffed mushrooms are ready to buy at the supermarket or the local deli. These convenience products are important for the future of the mushroom. Scelta Products in Yerseke, in the province of Zeeland, produces mushrooms in a crunchy coat – the French culinary term would be ‘enrobé’. It takes them an hour and a half to turn a fresh mushroom into a finished product. In the factory, hardly any employees are seen, just three women sorting the mushrooms that have sandy feet (meaning: there’s some dirt sticking to the stem) or that have been cut in half by the harvesting machine. Not all mushrooms grow straight up into the air, you see; a lopsided mushroom will irrevocably be cleave.
a culinary highlight
The mushrooms are dusted in a thin layer if flour, salt and flavourings such as garlic powder. Hundreds of different flavours can be produced. The mushrooms, still on a conveyor belt, disappear under a layer of batter, then breadcrumbs, another layer of batter and an extra layer of breadcrumbs. Those double layers make the mushroom extra crunchy.
In the freezer, each mushroom will be hard frozen, before ending up in a 500 gram (1 pound) bag. The sorting machine has 14 scales and calculates which mushrooms put together come closest to the desired 500 grams. Usually the bags contain a little bit more weight; the mark ‘average weight’ means that in most cases, there’s more in the package than it states. When they’re fresh from the deep fat fryer, the mushrooms taste soft and fleshy on the inside, crunchy and savory on the outside. Breaded mushrooms are especially popular in British pubs; the Dutch like to order a ‘bitterbal’, the English beer drinker loves crunchy mushrooms.