I used to be in the camp of cooking mushrooms over high heat to get them to brown while evaporating off their water, but Andrea Nguyen’s book Vietnamese Food Any Day gave me an alternate approach inspired by Vietnamese clay pot cooking. I love the technique for its simplicity: Put mushrooms in a heavy pot (I use my small 2-quart Dutch oven), drizzle the oil over the top, cover, and then turn on the heat. The mushrooms gradually release their liquid as they warm up and sort of marinate in their own juices as they cook. It’s the best and most hands-off way to create a side dish for earthy red wine such as Nebbiolo from Alto Piemonte—the northern part of Italy’s Piedmont region—or a mellow, traditional Rioja. Finish off the spread with some cheese, bread, and salumi.
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Garlicy Marinated Mushrooms
- 12 ounces cremini or button mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- garlic cloves, smashed
- sprigs thyme or oregano, or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- Flaky sea salt
- Wash the mushrooms well, then trim off the stem ends (leave the stems in place unless they look a bit withered). If any of the mushrooms are much larger than others, halve them through the stem end.
- In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan or small Dutch oven, add the mushrooms. Drizzle the oil over the top, then cover, set over medium heat, and cook without stirring until you hear sizzling, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover, season with the kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper, and give the mushrooms a stir. Put the
- garlic and thyme on top, then cover, turn the heat to low, and let the mushrooms gently steam without stirring for 12 minutes.
- Uncover and check the texture of the mushrooms. If they are still firm and there isn’t much liquid in the pot, cover and continue to cook for 3 minutes more, then check again. If the mushrooms are soft, leave them uncovered, increase the heat, and simmer until most of the water has evaporated, 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Serve at room temperature topped with pinches of flaky sea salt and more pepper, if desired.
Reprinted with permission from Wine Style: Discover the Wines You Will Love Through 50 Simple Recipes by Kate Leahy, copyright © 2021. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.