PERFECT SAUTEED MUSHROOMS
Decadently savoury and salty, these perfect sautéed mushrooms are a quick and easy side dish that elevates any meal! Great with hearty meats and comforting fall dinners.
If you’re anything like me, finding easy, but decadent side dishes can be overwhelming. I love planning delicious dinner parties, but my focus naturally gravitates to the main dish and dessert, and I’m then scrambling for sides that complement my dinner, aren’t too heavy, and involve beautiful, fresh ingredients.
When planning a fall inspired dinner with La Crema, I knew I had to work in one of my favorite side dishes ever: my secret to Perfect Sauteed Mushrooms. Mushrooms are one of my absolute favorite things to cook; they are salty, rich, have a wonderful meaty flavor and a great texture when cooked right, and they are surprisingly easy to make. With lots of local artisan mushroom growers popping up everywhere, mushrooms are a delicious, sustainable option for dinners with a local focus.
Mushrooms also adapt well to wine pairings; they can go from whites to reds easily as a nice transitional dish that works. The crisp slightly sweet citrus notes of La Crema’s Bennett Valley Viognier and Monterey Pinot Gris cut through the buttery salt flavors of this dish; and the more structured earth and red fruit flavors of La Crema’s Willamette Pinot Noir brought out the meaty flavors in the mushrooms.
Tips to perfect sauteed mushrooms every time:
Give the mushrooms room. In the words of Julia Child, “Don’t crowd the mushrooms!” To get delicious mushrooms, you need to give them lots of surface area to cook on. Mushrooms can give off lots of liquid when overcrowded which stops them from browning. Use a big pan to be sure they have enough room!
Hold off on the salt until they are almost done. We cooked these mushrooms with ghee (a clarified butter), though you can use salted butter. Taste the mushrooms after adding wine and letting it cook down, as that is when the salty flavour from the butter will intensify. Mushrooms can go from bland to inedibly salty quickly if you salt them too early, so hold off seasoning until they are just about ready. If they still need more salt, add slowly and continue to cook so the mushrooms absorb it evenly.
Don’t rush the browning. Color equals flavor. Browning mushrooms until slightly crispy will give them a savory, decadent crunch that eliminates the “slimy” texture some people equate with mushrooms. This is the most important part to flavorful mushrooms — let them brown! This step doesn’t take too long, but it is not one you want to skip.
Mix it up! I like to use cremini mushrooms as my base, since they are readily available and pretty inexpensive. From there, I like to add in shiitake, chanterelle, oyster, hen of the woods, and other exotic mushrooms to round out a delicious mixture with a ton of flavor. Just be sure to give all mushrooms a similar sized chop so they cook evenly.
Save the leftovers. If you have any leftover mushrooms, be sure to save them as a fantastic addition to frittatas, pastas, casseroles, and other dishes the next day! I often use this recipe as a way to prepare mushrooms that will star in other dishes, and build the recipe around them.
Perfect Sauteed Mushrooms
- 1 1/2 tbsp ghee or salted butter (set 1 tbsp aside)
- 1/2 tbsp olive, canola or other oil
- 1 1/2 pound Gourmet Mushrooms (cinnamon cap, oyster, king oyster and shiitake, fill out your 1/2 pound with cremini if you can’t source some of the mushrooms but try as many exotics as you can)
- 5 cloves garlic, diced
- 1/4 cup white wine (we used Pinot Gris)
- salt, to taste
- Heat a heavy pan or cast iron skillet.
- Add oil and 1/2 ghee/butter.
- When shiny and bubbling slightly, add mushrooms.
- Stir and let mushrooms begin to brown.
- Add remaining 1/2 ghee/butter and garlic.
- Stir quickly to heat garlic, but be careful not to let it burn.
- Add white wine (Caution: it will release a LOT of steam when it hits the pan).
- Let wine cook down.
- When liquid is fully absorbed, taste.
- Add salt if needed (don’t add before, the butter may make your mushrooms saltier than you realize when cooked down).
- Serve warm!
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