Wild Mushroom Medley

Serves

Sometimes what's simple is what's best, and when you have fresh wild mushrooms at hand, nothing could be more true! Try to use at least two types of mushrooms; when you cook several kinds together, their flavor and complexity increase, almost as if the varieties are competing with one another! Serve the mushrooms as a side dish, atop a thick steak, or on a bed of creamy polenta. You can also add them to a salad dressed with a robust vinaigrette.


Ingredients

8 ounces porcini, chanterelle, or trumpet mushrooms (trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch slices)
8 ounces cremini or hedgehog mushrooms (trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch slices)
3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  Sea salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced shallots
  freshly ground pepper (to taste)
2 teaspoons minced fresh flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon


Directions

Clean the mushrooms with damp paper towels if they're dirty. Use a soft brush (a toothbrush works well) to loosen any debris. If you must wash them, let the mushrooms dry on paper towels for several hours in a warm place before cooking.

It's best to cook each type of mushroom separately so that you can control the cooking times, which will vary by variety. The instructions that follow call for cooking the mushrooms over high heat, which is not a typo. Mushrooms are about 80% water; the flesh needs to be broken down to release the flavor and juices inside. It's important to start with a very hot pan and to use a fat that can withstand high temperatures without burning. Lower heat causes the juices to rush out, which in turn causes the mushrooms to steam and turn soggy. Add the mushrooms and resist the temptation to stir, so that they sear and caramelize, which releases their meaty essence.

Place a skillet over high heat. When it's hot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add one variety of mushroom to the pan and sprinkle with salt. Cook without stirring over high heat until one side begins to color and becomes slightly crusty. Reduce the heat to medium-high, flip the mushrooms, and cook until crisp-tender. The length of cooking time will depend on the variety. Transfer to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms.

Return the skillet to high heat. When hot, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add both varieties of mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, to reheat and crisp the mushrooms, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallots, garlic, pepper, parsley, and tarragon, and stir to combine. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly, then serve immediately.

 

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