Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sautéed Mushrooms & Variations

Sauteed black trumpets and chanterelles.

How to saute mushrooms... seriously!?  Yes!  Mushrooms and most of their flavor compounds are fat soluble.  This means they taste extra yums when paired with butter, oil, or a combination of both... and they really don't need much more than simple seasoning to make a great side dish.  Serve them with a nice cut of steak, chicken, whatevers.  The other cool thing about mushrooms is the variety, not just in species but also in taste and smell.  They are so unique and delicate.  Some mushrooms can't even be cultivated and hence making some types a delicacy. 

It's super simple to maximize mushroom flavor output.  With the exception of truffles, you can pretty much use this recipe for any type of edible mushroom, fresh or dried, wild or non, and get the most out of the natural flavor without going too crazy.

I love, love, love wild mushrooms and this time I got to experiment with the chanterelle family!  I got about 3.5oz of Dried Chanterelle and Black Trumpet Mushrooms from Wine Forest Wilds Foods through Delicious Karma for $19!  This is one of my favorite Delicious Karma purchases to date!  I saw fresh chanterelles at Whole Foods the other day for $30 an ounce and they weren't even that golden.  These dried mushrooms reconstituted nicely and maintained flavors well. They were super tasty and strong in flavors, especially the black trumpets!  The chanterelles were meaty and had a nutty, peppery flavor.  In contrast, the black trumpets had a smokey, fatty flavor.  It's kind of hard to describe their flavors.  But they both had a similar smell: fruity and woody.  

Dried vs. Fresh Wild Mushrooms. It's hard to find fresh wild mushrooms.  Using dried ones doesn't necessarily take the flavor away.  In fact some chefs say the flavors are actually superior in flavors to fresh ones, but it depends on the mushroom.  Chanterelles and black trumpets tend to maintain their consistency, aroma, and flavors well.  Texture on the other hand, not so much, as they become a bit chewy.  Anyway, the other cool thing about using dried mushrooms is that you can boil down the broth afterwards and make a savory wild mushrooms soup.


Ingredients:  There is a 2:1 butter to oil ratio per 1/2 pound of mushroom.
  • 2 Tbsp Organic Grass-Fed Butter (I like the Kerrygold brand)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil (thanks to Ms. Child)
  • 8oz Mushrooms... any kind!  They don't need to be wild!  Button, cremini, white, oyster, lobster, etc.  For this post, I used dried Chanterelles and Black Trumpets from Delicious Karma.  If you're using multiple kinds of wild mushrooms, make sure they go well together.  If they're in the same sub-mushroom family it's probably fine.
  • Sea Salt (Fine, "fancy" salt preferred if your only seasoning is salt and pepper)
  • Black Pepper
2. Dried Chanterelle and Black Trumpet Mushrooms ordered from Wine Forest Wild Foods in Napa, through Delicious Karma!

Variations (OR, not all together):
  • 1 Tbsp Shallots, minced
  • 2 Tsp Garlic, minced + 1 Tsp Rosemary
  • 3 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp mixed fresh chopped herbs: parsley, chives, and tarragon
  • Chop and dry (even more until they are so dried they stick together) the crap out of those mushrooms + 2 Tbsp minced Shallots for a duxelles

  1. Prepping the mushrooms: DRY THE LIVING CRAP OUT OF THEM.  Slice or quarter the mushrooms, or leave them whole if small.  Since I used dried mushrooms, I had to first bring them back to life.  You can do this by bringing a pot of water to a boil, then turning off the heat.  Soak the dried mushrooms for 20 minutes and then remove.  If you are using dried mushrooms, you will have even more drying to do.  But don't worry, it's totally worth it as wild mushrooms are each so unique in flavor!  A cheese cloth will help this process a ton.
    2. Chanterelles... back to life!

    3. Black Trumpets.
  2. Heat the 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pan or enameled skillet over high heat.  Do not add the mushrooms until you see the butter stop foaming or the oil is very, very hot.
    4. Butter and oil, hot enough to add the mushrooms.
  3. Add the mushrooms but DO NOT PACK THEM IN, because if you do, they will steam instead of brown.  They should have plenty of room.  Cook them in batches if your pan is not big enough.  Saute for 4-5 minutes.  If you wanted to add minced shallots, do it here.
    5. Mushrooms have plenty of room to move and brown.
  4. When the mushrooms attained a nice color and start to release their juices, remove them from the heat.  Salt and pepper to taste.  If you wanted to add herbs as a variation, do it here.  If you're making the duxelles, cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the mushroom pieces begin to separate... you should have no liquid left at the end.
    6. Happy with this.  Sauteed reconstituted black trumpets and chanterelles.

I enjoyed the sautéed wild mushrooms with a half-roasted chicken and white wine sauce (variation of Roasted Chicken with Black Truffles and Porcini Mushrooms, without the mushrooms or the brining) and chili broccoli rabe.  

7. Mmmmmm!

8. ...and with friends!

In summary, sautéed mushrooms are lightly browned and exude none of their juices while they are being cooked.  To achieve this: the mushrooms must be very dry, the fats super hot, and the mushrooms free to roam in the pan.

If you're up to cooking a fancy meal with mushrooms, try making a wine or alcohol based sauce (check out my Roasted Chicken w/ Black Truffles and Porcinis recipe).  Mushrooms tend to pair well with alcohol too.