No, Not that Fungi

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Admit it, when you see the word “fungi” you want to make a pun involving mushrooms, and some dude at a party with the lampshade on his head. Not this fungi, which is pronounced fun-gee like a bungee cord, and is a cornmeal dish from the Virgin Islands. Traditionally served with fried fish, it’s super easy to make and the ultimate comfort food for those breezy Caribbean evenings, or those cold Michigan winter nights.

I enjoyed mine with Creole sauce, and it’s my souvenir from St. Thomas to all of you. You’re welcome.

Fungi with Carnival Creole Sauce

(USVI.net)

For the Fungi:

1 cup cornmeal

1 tsp salt

2 cups cold water

1 TBS butter

Place first three ingredients in a saucepan, and stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until mixture starts to thicken. Stir in butter, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for approximately 15 minutes.

For the Creole Sauce:

 2 medium onions, sliced

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes (or substitute fresh)

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. vinegar

1-2 Scotch bonnet peppers, or substitute serrano or jalapeno to your taste

Combine all ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes or until onions and pepper are tender. Serve over fungi, fried fish, stewed chicken, and/or anything else you want to spoon this yumminess over.

If your guests are hesitant about trying a dish called “fungi,” feel free to describe it as a Caribbean-fusion polenta recipe, and serve it with a fine Barbera – or, if the weather permits, some juicy rum punch.


Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht & Roumel, PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil right litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for “Current” magazine in Ann Arbor. Follow him at @nickroumel.
 

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