Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mad for Mushrooms on Top

I've always loved mushrooms, even when I was a little girl. Their earthy, fragrant flavor and chewy texture have always enticed my taste buds. Even knowing mushrooms are fungi and sometimes poisonous does not deter me one bit from wanting to eat them.

I have devised an easy way to incorporate lots of mushrooms into various dishes. Or should I say incorporate them ONTO various dishes? My technique is to saute in-season, locally grown mushrooms in olive oil and a little butter and then simply pour them over whatever edible I feel like having that day. For instance, a large serving of sauteed mushrooms goes nicely over:

- good buttered bread (I'm partial to Il Fornaio Rosemary Bread)
- cooked pasta, along with some marinara or cream sauce with parmesan
- cheese quesadillas
- scrambled eggs, omelets, quiche or fritatta
- pizza

I like the mushrooms on top technique because I don't have to worry about making them to fit a recipe. Mushrooms on top makes them the emphatic focus of these dishes so I can make and eat as much as I like, and use whatever variety of mushroom I want.

A simple technique to saute mushrooms:

1. Clean mushrooms by putting them in a colander and quickly rinsing with cold water. Blot dry with a towel.
2. Cut into bite sized pieces.
3. Saute in pan on medium heat in extra virgin olive oil until the mushrooms release their water.
4. After the water evaporates, add a pat of butter and continue to saute for a total of about 10 minutes.
5. Salt to taste.

If you haven't tried them, check out the chanterelles now in season at your farmers' market, the Ferry Building mushroom store, or at Sigona's Market. Saute a big serving and pour over your favorite mushroom delivery dish. You'll discover why chanterelles are called Queen of the Forest.

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