Episode 73: Mushrooms

This week, we’re lacing up our boots, buying a truffle pig, and going foraging in the Safeway produce section. From criminis to shiitakes, Matthew and Molly discuss the finer points of our most common fungi and, once and probably not for all, answer the age-old question: what’s the best way to clean a dirty mushroom? www.spilledmilkpodcast.com

SLICED MUSHROOMS WITH FRESH MOZZARELLA AND THYME
Adapted from Jamie’s Italy, by Jamie Oliver

This dish is extremely adaptable, so what follows is more of a method than a true recipe. To give you an idea of proportions: for two people, you might want two small handfuls of crimini mushrooms, 3/4 to 1 standard-size ball of fresh mozzarella, and the leaves from one sprig of thyme. That, plus some bread and a salad, is a nice, light lunch.

Ingredients:
Fresh mushrooms, such as crimini, porchini, shiitake, or portobello
Fresh mozzarella
Olive oil
Fresh thyme, leaves removed and stem discarded
Sea salt

Preheat the broiler.

Clean the mushrooms, and then slice them thinly, no thicker than 1/4 inch. Arrange them in a single layer on a large ovenproof platter. Tear the mozzarella into coarse bits—each about the size of a nickel—and scatter them over the mushrooms. Drizzle with olive oil. Scatter the thyme leaves over the top, along with a good pinch or two of salt.

Slide the platter under the broiler, and cook, checking frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbling, and golden in spots. Serve with plenty of bread.

KUNG PAO MUSHROOMS

3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 pound cremini mushrooms, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced ginger
6 dried red chiles (such as Arbol, Japones, or Tien Tsin)
1/2 teaspoon crushed sichuan peppercorns

Sauce:
2 tablespoons black vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine

1/2 cup roasted peanuts
2 scallions, green parts only, sliced

Stir together sauce ingredients in a bowl. Heat peanut oil in wok or skillet. Cook mushrooms until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chiles, and Sichuan peppercorns and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add sauce and peanuts and cook until sauce is reduced to your liking. Garnish with scallions and serve with plenty of steamed rice.

Yield: 2 to 3 servings.

9 thoughts on “Episode 73: Mushrooms

  1. melissab

    looking forward to the leather jackets for sale ;-) good show. also, glad you guys don’t like raw mushrooms too much, ‘cuz i’ve heard from some mushroom people (mush. fest in telluride, near where i live) that all shrooms, including ‘edible’ kinds, have some toxins, so they must be cooked to lessen the toxins…and, the white button kind found in grocery store have a high level of said toxins, yet that’s the kind you find raw in most salad bars. ??hmmmm

  2. Jennifer

    Hooray! Can’t tell you how happy you’ve made me. I happen to love mushrooms, even raw(guess I’m full of toxins), but hate cleaning them. Yay, now I can just wash them. You know, I don’t even know why I was told not to wash them, I just followed the rules……

    1. mamster Post author

      Jennifer, it is true that mushrooms can become kind of slimy if you wash them and don’t cook them, so you might want to keep on brushing/wiping them for that purpose.

      Gwen, I think we’ll probably talk about that when we do wild mushrooms. I’m a big fan of dried mushrooms and think they’re great in all sorts of things: pasta, lasagna, soups, stir-fries, hot pots, and so on.

  3. Chris

    Once upon a long time ago as an Army brat we lived a year in the Missouri (mid-1960s). My parents were surprised when near a large tree and the dryer vent were lots of morels. Though they were covered with lots of dryer lint.

    They had this washing machine that had a basket tray you put on the agitator for very tiny loads (but the same amount of water). So they washed the morels in the washing machine!

  4. Annie

    There’s a place near my office that makes a wonderful ahi salad with raw shitake mushrooms. Forget your experience with raw cremini/white button. Fresh shitakes are insanely good and the texture isn’t anything like those styrofoam-previously-mentioned fungi. I was not a fan of raw mushrooms at all until I had this salad and the raw shitakes blew my mind. I do still hate raw cremini/white button mushrooms.

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