I just love mushrooms! And while I love the exotics and the wild ones, give me a succulent, meaty Portobello or a chubby little button mushroom for my skillet and I’m a happy camper!
There are many ways to use mushrooms, but I am going to address the two ways they are seen most often in my kitchen: sautéed with herbs as an accompaniment for steak or delicately sautéed in butter for addition to other dishes…like a cheese and mushroom omelette or savoury rice.
Here are a few mushroom tips:
1) If you have had some mushrooms hiding out in the back of the fridge and they’ve become dry and leathery, don’t toss them out! Inspect them and, if there is no fuzzy green stuff or slippery slime growing on them, they are still edible. Just plop them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and they will reconstitute. Drain on a paper towel and they are ready to use.
2) With the exception of reconstituting dried mushrooms, it is best to keep your fungi away from water. But mushrooms often come to the kitchen with bits of blackish growing medium clinging to them and it needs to be removed. There are a multitude of little brushes and tools designed for this purpose, but I find the corner of a muslin dish towel, applied with my index finger in a gentle brushing motion, works just fine!
3) Purchase mushrooms only from reputable sources. If you are buying exotics and are not familiar with the mushroom you are buying, you can look it up here to make sure you are not preparing a poisonous variety.
4) Slice mushrooms with the cap down on the cutting board, otherwise you can break the mushroom. Use a very sharp knife (I use ceramic) or a piano-wire egg slicer…those make perfectly even-sized slices but only work with smaller mushrooms.
Any way you slice them, mushrooms are delicious and make a wonderful addition to virtually any meal!
Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms (to accompany meat)
4 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced ¼ inch thick
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter (not margarine)
½ cup cleaned and thinly sliced shallots or spring onions
2 to 4 cloves roasted garlic
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Sprinkle dried Fines Herbes
½ cup Marsala
Sea salt to taste
Heat butter and oil together in broad, shallow sauté pan or skillet. Wait until oil is hot to add mushrooms…adding too early will cause mushrooms to absorb oil and become greasy.
Add mushrooms and stir gently, making sure all cut sides are coated with hot oil. Add garlic, shallots, and Fines Herbes. Cook until mushrooms begin to shrink and shallots soften. Add Marsala, then Worcestershire sauce, increase flame and cook off the Marsala, stirring constantly. Cut surfaces should take on a golden hue about the time they are ready to be removed from stove.
Add salt and pile on top of a rare chunk of filet.
Sautéed Light Mushrooms (to add to a savoury dish such as an omelette or rice)
1 cup sliced button or Portobellini mushrooms
2 tbsp butter (not margarine)
⅓ cup thinly sliced spring onions
1 to 2 cloves garlic, put through garlic press
⅓ cup dry white wine
Sprinkle dried Fines Herbes (optional)
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Sea salt to taste
Melt butter in shallow skillet but do not allow to brown. Add mushrooms and Fines Herbes and stir gently until all cut surfaces of the mushrooms are coated with butter. Add onion, parsley and garlic and cook until onions begin to soften. Add wine and increase flame to cook off the wine. Salt to taste.
Either recipe can be used to mix with cooked rice for a savoury rice dish. Try adding toasted almonds or pine nuts.
Drain the Sautéed Light Mushrooms with a pierced spoon. Mix with grated Monterey Jack, Colby, or mild cheddar and use as an omelette filling
Mix the Sautéed Light Mushrooms with steamed broccoli for a new side dish.
Spread either recipe over toasted ciabatta and add cheese for a sandwich
Remove stems from a multitude of small, whole mushrooms. Sauté, skewer on toothpicks and serve as hors d'oeuvres.
Photo by bucklava, Flickr