Hello, hello. Glad to see you back again for week #43 as we learn about the “50 Women Game Changers” highlighted on Gourmet Online. This week we’ll take a look at April Bloomfield and her blooming successful restaurants.
April wanted to be on the police force but she was too late turning her application. Not knowing what else to do she followed in her older sisters’ footsteps to be a Chef. She immediately fell in love with the whole experience. She studied at the Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies, then worked at various upscale restaurants: Kensington Place, Bibendum, River Café in London, and Alice Water’s restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif.
When Ken Friedman, an ex-music executive, and Mario Batalli, an early investor, were looking for a chef and business partner, they tried to hire Jamie Oliver, but he wasn’t interested. Jamie told them about April Bloomfield, this young English woman whom he worked with at River Café, in London. Ken and Mario brought her over to New York and wined and dined her and hired her without even tasting her food. When Ken asked Mario how he knew that she was good, he said, “I could tell as soon as I saw all the burns on her arms. She has no fear. That’s crucial.”
Ken and April’s first restaurant was The Spotted Pig, it immediately became a spot for well-known musicians to hang out, due to Ken’s music connections. It’s referred to as a “gastropub,” which means it’s a bar atmosphere and the food is high-end pub-fare. The spotted pig earned them a Michelin star, and their second restaurant, The Bresslin has also earned them that coveted star. You probably won’t find too many vegans lining up to eat at these restaurants. April’s specialty is meat, especially pork, as you may gather from the first restaurant’s name. Her recently published book is A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories.
I modified the original recipe to eliminate the butter, and crème fraiche, and I used Shitaki mushrooms. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, shitaki Mushrooms have antiviral and anticancer effects, and they encourage the body to absorb cholesterol. Shitaki mushroom bruschetta is an easy recipe, it’s a dairy-free appetizer, and it’s good for my healthy eating habits.
Total Time: 25 minutes
Serving: 2 – 4
Yield: 2 cups
5 – 7 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound mushrooms shitake mushrooms, sliced into ½-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely sliced chives
4 (¾-inch) slices rye, or whole wheat bread
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 cups arugula leaves
1. Set a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons oil. Once very hot, add mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Sauté them, stirring from time to time, until browned and tender, about 6 minutes. Once mushrooms cook down, traces of their juices should streak the pan. If too dry, deglaze with splashes of water.
2. Stir in garlic, and parsley and a bit more oil. Cook until garlic is golden, 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove pan from heat.
3. Set another pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a slick of oil and lay in bread. Toast both sides until crisp and golden, 1-2 minutes per side. Another option is to toast the bread in the oven if you want to avoid using more oil.
4. Whisk together 2 tablespoons oil and lemon juice. Place arugula in large bowl and toss to lightly coat with dressing. Season with salt.
5. Spoon mushroom topping over toasts. Serve bruschetta with the salad.
Check out what these other great cooks have come up with:
Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Joanne – Eats Well With Others, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden, Heather - Girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette – Healthy Living, Mary – One Perfect Bite, Kathleen -Bake Away with Me Sue – The View from Great Island, Barbara – Movable Feasts, Kathleen – Gonna Want Seconds, Linda A - There and Back Again Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie- Most Lovely Things , Claudia -Journey of an Italian Cook, Amrit Beetles Kitchen Escapades, Alyce – More Time at the Table, Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks, Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink