Saturday, March 15, 2008

March 15: Balsamic Sauteed Mushrooms

Balsamic vinegar is one of those kitchen staples that I am never, ever without, like kosher salt and dijon mustard and great olive oil. It's the starting point of about a dozen different things for me, including a dressing that's great for strong salad greens like arugula and escarole, a marinade for roasted vegetables, and a glaze for fresh strawberries that is absolute heaven on poundcake or vanilla ice cream.

Spend the money for good balsamic vinegar at a specialty food store like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. Look for an aged basalmic, one whose ingredient list doesn't include caramel color. It'll cost you, for sure, but the difference between great aged balsamic vinegar and grocery store cut-rate is like night and day. In this recipe, where the flavor takes center stage, it will make a particular difference.

Serve these mushrooms next to a steak or a seared fish fillet.

Balsamic Sauteed Mushrooms

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 lb. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
kosher salt
1 to 2 tsp. minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and 1 tbsp. water in a small dish.

In a 10-inch straight sided saute pan, heat 1 tbsp. of the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the mushrooms and 3/4 tsp. salt and stir right away with a wooden spoon until the mushrooms have absorbed all the fat.

Let the mushrooms cook undisturbed for 2 minutes and then stir once. The pan will look dry but keep the heat at medium high and continue to cook, stirring infrequently, until the mushrooms are shrunken, glistening, and some sides have developed a deep brown color, 6-7 minutes.

Turn the heat to low, add the garlic and the remaining 1 tbsp butter and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant, 15-20 seconds. Carefully add the balsamic mixture. Cook, stirring, until the liquid reduces to a glazey consistency that coats the mushrooms, 15-20 seconds. Season with a few grinds of pepper. Immediately transfer the mushrooms to a serving dish, scraping the pan with a rubber spatula to get all of the garlicky sauce. Let sit for a few minutes. Serve warm.

1 comment:

alex said...

how much olive oil?