We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sautéed and Caramelized Mushrooms

by Michelle

   To cook really well, one must be patient. It can take time to build flavor. Chef Ann Burrell would certainly agree. Her mantra, "brown food tastes good" certainly applies here. I have noticed that novice cooks like to stir, turn, or flip quite often. Relax. Sometimes food likes to sizzle nicely in the pan before being touched again.
   I love these mushroom so much. Sure they are fantastic with a steak. But, they are also great at room temperature as part of an appetizer tray alongside salumi and olives. Leftovers make me estatic. That means I can sprinkle the tasty morsels on top of pizza, tuck into an omelette, stir into a weeknight marinara, or layer into panini. You get the idea. Now I have a hankering for caramelized mushrooms. I think I'll make them right now!

Sautéed and Caramelized Mushrooms

    In his cookbook, Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking (Chronicle Books ©2002), Michael shares with his readers that as a teenager this is the first dish that he cooked well.

6 Tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 pounds fresh button mushrooms, left whole if small, or quartered if large
2 Tbsps unsalted butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1-1/2 tps minced fresh thyme
1-1/2 Tbsps fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine (I've also used Madeira)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley

1. Clean the mushroom by brushing off the debris, or gently cleansing with a wet paper towel. Please, please, please don't wash by drowning the mushrooms in water, they won't brown properly. You'll have sautéed mushrooms, but they will not caramelize (and that would be a shame).
2. A large skillet is the right tool for this job. I happen to use a rather large enamled cast iron pot as seen in the photos. Heat the skillet or pot over high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms to the pot, and quickly spread to a single layer. This is when you need to be patient. The mushrooms need to sizzle for about 2 minutes. Do not stir. Stirring them too soon will cause them to release their liquid, and they will steam, and they will lose their ability to caramelize.
3.Once the bottoms are caramelized, stir and continue to cook over high heat for about 5 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and discard the excess oil.
4. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Return the mushroom to the pan and add the butter. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the garlic. Sauté until the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
5. Add the thyme and lemon juice and cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the wine, reduce the heat slightly (if needed) and simmer until the mushrooms are glazed with the sauce. Add the parsley and serve immediately.

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