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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sautéed Assorted Mushrooms

An all-time big fan of mushrooms myself, I have always adored these fungi regardless of how they are served. But then again I must say that I have not had that many dining experiences with fresh mushrooms growing up in Malaysia. The most common ones that we used to have often come either brined in cans or simply dehydrated. Fresh mushrooms are definitely something that I have only come to truly appreciate years later leaving home to study abroad. Spotting first the fresh button mushrooms and then the many other kinds that I had or had not heard of back then was simply a sight so fascinating. And there it went - my love for mushrooms blossomed with every opportunity of savoring them over time. Sautéed mushrooms is by far my favorite whenever I have got the chance to get hold of plenty different kinds of mushrooms at the same time.

shiitake, king trumpet, enoki and white buttom mushrooms
Naturally earthy and rich in flavor, each comes with a distinct feature like no others - the aromatic shiitake, the meaty king trumpet, the crunchy enoki and the juicy white button, and together they can never disappoint when sautéed to perfection retaining their unique characteristics at their very best. So much so that they often are hearty enough to be made a meal on their own. And the absolutely great thing about this - it needs mothing more than the usual few things that you can easily get in your very own kitchen. Simple ingredients with an exceptionally extravagant result.

Sautéed Assorted Mushrooms  Serves 2-3
1lb mixed assorted mushrooms 
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1½ tbsps unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
~4 tbsps chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp dry sherry
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Clean the mushrooms as how you would personally like them cleaned. I had mine briefly wiped with some damp paper towels. Trim and discard any tough stems. Slice the mushrooms thickly (~1/4" thickness).
2. Heat up a large skillet with the olive oil over medium heat. Melt in the butter and add in the shallots to cook until they turn translucent. Bring in the mushrooms next and toss to coat evenly. Stir regularly and cook until they are soft and starting to release their moisture. Add in salt and black pepper to taste. 
3. When the mushrooms have softened and lightly browned, add in the minced garlic and toss to mix evenly. Continue cooking for about a minute or two. Remove the skillet from heat, drizzle in the dry sherry, toss gently and put back on stove over high heat. Let cook until the dry sherry has evaporated.
4. Stir in the parsley and season with more salt or pepper to taste if necessary. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving plate and serve. 

Enoki mushrooms usually require a much shorter time to get thoroughly cooked. If you wish to retain the crunchy texture they naturally have, have them added into the skillet slightly later than the rest of the mushroom combinations. That way you will ensure that they are exposed to a shorter duration of heat retaining their unique texture. This sautéed mushrooms make a perfect side dish to many entrées - grilled, broiled or seared chicken, fish or a good slab of steak. Or in my case, I had it alongside a hearty bowl of homemade lobster stew - a meal so heavenly and simply comforting.

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