I love mushrooms. I will eat them in just about any form or fashion. Doesn’t matter what it is, sign me up! I know that mushrooms are either loved or hated. Believe me, I know people in both camps. However, this recipe, will change the game even if you don’t love mushrooms. Let me tell you the story of how it all began.
Last Christmas I was visiting my brother and he was so excited to show me this new cookbook he had bought that he thought I would like. He said that it changed how he thought about food and thought it might be an interesting resource for my blog and foodie adventures. He brings this huge book! I mean it is huge! Not because it is a billion pages, no, the book itself is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen. I’m a theatre guy, so I’ve been around some sizable books. Anyway, I start rifling through the opening and I was hooked. The book talked about loving food, being a nerd, applying science to common food questions in a way that was accessible by any home cook. I suddenly felt like the book was written for me. My brother said if I was interested he would buy it for me for Christmas. Of course I had to have a copy and the rest, well, is the beginning of a beautiful food related courtship.
This book covers a ton of topics and it is incredibly well thought out. You can read this as casually as looking for week night dinner options or like a text book, which you could easily do as well. However, we are just focusing on one thing, pan roasted mushrooms. These aren’t your normal pan roasted mushrooms. Oh no. These beauties have a few twists and turns along the way.
Before I go much further, the cookbook is “The Food Lab” by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, this is a worthwhile read. Oh, I should also say that this is a personal recommendation and I’m not receiving any kind of compensation for talking about his cookbook. If you want a recommendation, read the reviews, check out what Kenji has done, and then go buy this book! If you follow me on Instagram a few of my recent meals have included some of his recipes and techniques. Now that we have that out of the way, here we go!
Pan Roasted Mushrooms
Recipe is from “The Food Lab” by Kenji Lopez-Alt and is adapted by me. This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. My changes will be noted in italics.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 ½ pounds button or cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into quarters
1 medium shallot, finely minced (about ¼ cup)
2 medium cloves garlic, minced or grated on a Microplane (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Here is a bonus photo of the garlic, shallot, lime juice, and soy sauce.
Heat the oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook.
Tossing and stirring frequently, until they have given up their liquid and the liquid has completely evaporated, about 8 minutes.
Continue cooking, tossing and stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are deep brown, about 10 minutes longer.
Add the shallot, garlic, and thyme and toss to distribute evenly.
Cook, stirring and tossing, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the soy sauce, lemon juice, and butter, and toss until butter is melted.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
These are so freaking good! For once this picture almost does these mushrooms justice, but not quite.
Here is what I love about these mushrooms. Despite the lengthy cooking time, they aren’t dried out and flavorless. In fact, quite the opposite. You have imparted such incredible flavor by allowing the mushrooms time to cook because they develop such a deep, rich color and flavor. The complexity of the acidity and soy sauce sells this! Seriously, just that is enough to make these mushrooms really special. It is truly complimented by the fresh thyme and the butter. The butter just rounds them out and gives an amazing mouth feel. I think you could serve them with just about any main dish. Just make sure you give those mushrooms something to play off of.
Now let’s get into some of my changes that I made in the recipe.
As far as oil is concerned, I automatically reach for the olive oil. However, something like a neutral oil such a vegetable or grapeseed oil would work here as well. For two reasons, first is that these oils can tolerate higher heat a little better and you don’t have to worry about imparting any “olive” flavor to the mushrooms as they cook. At the end of the day you won’t really notice so don’t stress about it. I’ve used olive oil and the mushrooms haven’t suffered one bit, I promise.
By accident I just sliced the mushrooms when I made the recipe the first time, but didn’t break them down into quarters. Either one is perfectly acceptable. If you do slice the mushrooms then slice them a little thicker to make sure they retain some structure. Also, I prefer button (white) mushrooms because they are usually the most friendly on the wallet and readily available. Also, the more mushrooms the merrier in this case. Mushroom are comprised of a lot of water, so they will cook down more than you think. Never hurts to add a little extra in my opinion with this recipe.
The soy sauce comes down to one basic element, salt. I season these mushrooms in the beginning of the recipe and don’t adjust the seasoning until the end. In order to control the salt, I use low sodium soy sauce. The taste and flavor doesn’t suffer, but I feel better knowing that the soy sauce won’t ruin the mushrooms for me. I can always a little more at the end if I need more.
Have I mentioned mistakes in the kitchen aren’t always the worst thing? It is true. Instead of adding lemon juice, I added lime juice. You see, I…err, well, I have lime juice around because it pairs well with that faithful adult beverage, you know? Hey, I make no apologies for that. Haha! Again, it won’t change the complexity of the dish and I find that the lime is very nice with the mushrooms. Either way, you won’t go wrong.
Keep in mind that some people don’t care for the punch of the rawness of garlic or shallot. If you don’t mind, then no worries. For me, I usually add those ingredients to the party when I still have a good five minutes to go so they can cook out. This process just allows the garlic and shallot to mellow out, but not lose their place in the party. On the other hand, keep an eye on the garlic because if it gets burnt and bitter that flavor will be imparted on the dish and can’t be removed.
I could write about these about mushrooms for days, but I think the best thing to do is let you go make them and see what all the fuss is about. As I said, this will change the way you think about mushrooms.
As always, be sure to let me know what you think of this recipe by sending me an email or posting a comment. I look forward to your feedback! Enjoy!