I always have mushrooms in my grocery cart, my family loves mushrooms sautéed until all the water is dried out, then seared a bit. Of course I flavor the sauté with good olive oil, butter, lots of garlic, chili flakes, salt and pepper. If I have some red or white wine left over (not usually) or we are just getting into a bottle, I’ll also add a splash of wine to it. The red wine adds a delicious flavor to the mushrooms but does color them darker, so be prepared for it. This savory dish goes great with anything. It can serve as a side and – if any leftovers, makes a great stuffing for puff pastry or short crust turnovers. You can also dice the mushrooms and serve them on top of a sliced baguette – lightly toasted with garlic infused olive oil – a bruschetta type topping.

Now there are tons of varieties of mushrooms out there and the more you travel to farmers markets or specialty stores, the more you will find. If you don’t have farmers markets near you, then stick with what most grocery stores carry. Shiitake, Crimini, Portobello, Oyster, Porcini (usually found dried in the grocery stores, sometimes fresh in specialty stores — with specialty prices), Lobster, Chanterelles etc. they all work with this dish. Dried mushrooms, well you can use them as well, just reconstitute them in hot water for 15 minutes or so, then continue using whatever recipe you have. Use the mushroom water to flavor soups, rice or sauces. My favorite readily available mushrooms are shiitake. The texture and taste really add another level of interest to the dish. But, I always start with the humble white button mushroom as a base. Quite often overlooked by gourmet foragers, I like the way it blends and absorbs flavors around it. Cooked properly – seared almost dry, they are as tasty as any mushroom out there – well maybe not quite as flavorful as truffles. But it really is all in the seasoning isn’t it. So here is a great recipe for you to make.

The site mushrooms.ca (and facebook.com/mushroomscanada) features all you need to know about mushrooms – picking them, associated tastes, recipes etc.  So do take a visit to their site, it’s one of those you want to bookmark in “favorites”.  As always – enjoy!

3 cups, sliced mushrooms – either all white as below, or use a variety for best flavor/texture (but minimum 1 cup white button mushrooms)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 – 1 tsp dried red chili flakes (pepperoncini work well) or 1 Thai chili, chopped fine – usually I add more, but you really want the taste of the mushrooms to come out here and the bigger the variety, the tastier the dish
1/4 cup good quality drinking wine – Reisling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary, thyme and marjoram (really to taste)
salt and pepper – to taste

In a heavy bottomed frying pan, over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter – let the butter melt
Add the garlic and stir – about 30 seconds. Add the chili – stir
Add the mushrooms, stir, season with salt and pepper, stir – now leave them alone uncovered for about 5 minutes, you know that red or white wine I mentioned earlier, pour yourself a glass and have a sip – relax
After 5 minutes, you should see the liquid coming out of the mushrooms and drying up – continue this process – stir but this time, stay close by (put the glass down, cook responsibly!) as the water will evaporate and you will need to stir to avoid burning the mushrooms
Once the water has evaporated add 1/4 cup of wine and stir until it is all evaporated and absorbed by the mushrooms – continue to stir until you see the mushrooms develop a nice seared caramel colour (just a few minutes more)
Taste, season and taste again
Serve immediately or cover until ready to use – warm up again just before serving!