Monday, December 29, 2014

Mushroom Mania


I really should start hiding magazines with recipes in them. Once again my mom is responsible for picking out this recipe. She mentioned it, and I knew right away why she wanted to try it - we're both a little weary of our standby shitake mushroom recipe. How could she resist something that Cook's Illustrated called Best Roasted Mushrooms?

Roasted? I never even considered roasting mushrooms. With the exception of broccoli, every vegetable I have tried roasting has turned out great.

Shitake mushrooms are a staple on our shopping list. They're supposed to be incredibly good for us. Plus, mushrooms are one of the best ingredients for meatless dishes because they have so much flavor and texture. So when pine nuts and Parmesan showed up on my mom's shopping list, I knew what she had in mind. Except I hadn't read the recipe. It requires a whopping pound of shitake mushrooms and one and a half pounds of cremini mushrooms! That's a lot of mushrooms!

Consequently, my first jab at this recipe was somewhat limited because I didn't have the proper amount of mushrooms. They turned out well enough though, for me to want to try again, this time with the proper amount of mushrooms.

There's nothing difficult about this recipe but you do have to budget time for it. I was surprised to find I had to brine the mushrooms! Yup. And to be certain those pesky mushrooms don't float, you weight them with a plate or lid to force them to stay down in the water. Most curious. Be sure to choose a bowl or pot for which you have a plate or a lid that fits down inside the pot. It doesn't have to fit perfectly. A little space around the edge is okay but if the gap is large, the mushrooms will escape. If you use a plate, a gap might be welcome so you can get a grip on it to pull it out.

The brining only takes 10 minutes but unlike a lot of mushroom recipes, this one takes about an hour of brining and cooking time, so plan accordingly.

The one sticking point (pun intended) that I haven't yet resolved is the tendency of the mushrooms, especially the shitakes, to stick to the pan. The first time I tried this, they stuck to the bottom of the pan. So I thought I would be clever and line it with aluminum foil the next time. That was worse because the foil tore when I tried to loosen the mushrooms from their grip. Next time, I think I'll try greasing the pan before I dump the mushrooms onto it. Maybe that will help.

It's meant to be a side dish and would work really well for that. In spite of the pounds of mushrooms, it only serves four. We ate them as a topping for egg noodles, in which case, it serves about three. A warning, though. There really isn't a sauce, so I just mixed a little extra melted butter and lemon and served that on the side for anyone who wanted some sauce.

Roasted Mushrooms with Parmesan and Pine Nuts
by Adam Reid for Cook's Illustrated

salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds cremini mushroom caps (whole if small, halved if medium, quartered if large)
1 pound shitake mushroom caps (halved if larger than 3 inches)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (I didn't bother to toast them)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Move the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 450.

In a pot with a lid or plate that fits inside, mix 2 quarts of room temperature water with 5 teaspoons salt. Dissolve salt. Add the mushrooms and cover with lid or plate to submerge. Let stand for ten minutes. Drain and pat dry with paper towels to remove as much of the moisture as possible.

Spread the mushrooms on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Roast 35 to 45 minutes or until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.

Using a thin metal spatula (I used my cookie spatula), stir gently. Roast another 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the melted butter with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the hot mushrooms and toss to coat them. Add the Parmesan, pine nuts and parsley, toss to combine, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


Loads of mushrooms!
Use a lid or dish to weight the mushrooms when brining.
Dry with paper towels.
After 35 minutes of roasting.
Can you believe how they shrink?
We ate them with egg noodles.

 

21 comments:

  1. What an interesting recipe! I've never heard of brining mushrooms, but I'll try anything once. And I'm the person you see jumping up and down with glee in markets when I see a collection of interesting varieties of mushrooms. Do you think this would work with other (flavorful, of course) kinds?

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    1. I would imagine so. We won't know until you try! I have to admit that I liked the resulting texture. Some were even a little bit crispy on the edges. It seems to deepen the flavor.

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  2. This looks marvelous. Love the way the mushrooms have gotten so nice and brown.

    I made a mushroom ragout for Christmas dinner. Mushrooms, shallots, Madeira wine, and cream. Oh my goodness!

    What is your problem with roasting broccoli? It works great for me.

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    1. PS Wonder why they need to the brine?

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    2. Your ragout sounds wonderful! What a lovely combination.

      So far my attempts at roasting broccoli haven't been as good as steamed broccoli. How do you roast yours?

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    3. Libby, in the article accompanying the recipe, Adam Reid says he was getting mushrooms that were unevenly seasoned. He learned that mushrooms are covered with water repellent proteins, so he thought maybe salt water could penetrate the mushrooms and it worked!

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    4. As to roasting broccoli, I smear a baking sheet with some oil, plunk in (very scientific term here) the broccoli-usually with sliced onion-drizzle it all with some more oil and a goodly splash of Braggs Amino Acids (like tamari or soy sauce). Jiggle is all to distribute and roast until pretty.
      Being Scots at heart, I trim the hard outside of the stems and then cut them into 1/4" ish strips. The flowers I leave is reasonably sized pieces.

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  3. I've never brined mushrooms. I usually just toss them with chopped rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil and roast them as a side for steak.

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    1. You're way ahead of me, Sandy. I'll try your method, too. Sounds wonderful. I always cooked them on the stove top!

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  4. The recipe sounds good. And adding them to egg noodles looks like a meal I would love!

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    1. We enjoyed it. Just remember that there's really no sauce. Some might find it very dry without additional lemon butter sauce.

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  5. Sounds delicious. I make a mushroom sauce for pasta, but I bet this brings out the flavor even more. Would parchment paper work to keep them from sticking? I can't live without parchment paper!

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    1. I've used so much parchment paper that I should buy it by the truckload. It's a good idea. Wonder how hot parchment paper can get?

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  6. oh yum Krista, and as always, the photo is stunning! Makes me hungry even though I just ate lunch--and some Christmas chocolates to top it off!

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    1. Christmas chocolates? Where? Where?

      I think you would like these. Nice and savory.

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  7. Love mushrooms and love this recipe! Can't wait to try it. What a nice change at this time of year (no offense intended to my vats of turkey soup)

    Thanks, Krista!

    MJ/VA

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    1. I know what you mean. After awhile we crave something simple without meat! I have a vat of soup in the fridge, too.

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  8. Love mushrooms and I am excited to use pine nuts. Never tried them.

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