Fall Flavors: Sautéed Mushrooms

Although I’m still eating primarily summer produce, the recent cool nights have me aching for foods of the autumnal persuasion. Braised meat is on my mind, but I haven’t had the time to dedicate to the task; so, I sautéed some mushrooms instead. These mushrooms quenched my craving. They are rich and hearty but come together quickly. A mushroom sauté isn’t tricky, but here are a few tips to make the dish spot on:

• Use cremini mushrooms. Actually, there are a myriad of interesting and exciting mushrooms from which to choose, but my go-to remain cremini because they are so inexpensive – only pennies more than your standard buttons but with a much deeper flavor.

• Salt at the end. I find the texture to be far superior when I wait to salt mushrooms toward the end of cooking.

• Don’t crowd the pan. The mushrooms should be in a single layer, so you may need to cook in batches.

• Resist the urge to stir. Give the mushrooms an initial stir to evenly distribute the oil, then wait until they are starting to brown on one side before stirring again. If you know you just can’t help yourself, find something else to keep your hands occupied for a few minutes.
The recipe calls for truffle salt, which is a nice touch but unnecessary; if you don’t have it, just use sea or kosher salt instead. I add chives at the end, but including a couple sprigs of thyme in the initial sauté would be a delicious addition. Serve over or mixed with pearled barley or topped with a fried egg.

Simple Sautéed Mushrooms

Olive oil
6 c cremini mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp cloth and quartered
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
generous splash balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp truffle salt (or to taste)
¼ c chopped chives

1. In a large sauté pan, add just enough olive oil to coat over medium-high heat. Add a single layer of mushrooms (you may need to work in batches), give them an initial stir, then resume stirring once they have begun browning. Stir infrequently until the mushrooms are a deep, golden brown.
2. If working in batches, return all mushrooms to the pan. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two. Add the balsamic and give it a minute to evaporate a bit, then add the butter and salt. Once you’ve achieved your desired level sauciness, remove from the heat and stir in the chives.

Serves 2 generously or 4 as a side

Wine Pairing:
This funky Pinot Noir from Burgundy perfectly accents the earthiness of the mushrooms and truffle salt.

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