Dinner

By Tara O'Keeffe | December 30, 2010

Photo: Tara O’Keeffe

It’s downright cold just about everywhere you look, and with temperatures this chilly, nothing sounds better than staying in and whipping up a warm and comforting meal. Having a savory condiment in your pantry, like this week’s recipe for Preserved Mushrooms, will provide you with an arsenal of meal ideas that are easy, flavorful, and fuel for the soul.

 

Mushrooms are the perfect winter food. They are hearty enough to take the place of meat and are flavorful enough to make a dish standout on their presence alone. When I saw this recipe for Preserved Mushrooms in Thomas Keller’s outstanding communal meal cookbook Ad Hoc at Home, I knew it would make for the perfect Sunday project. In this recipe, an assortment of wild mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, cremini, and morels work well) are steeped in a hot, flavorful oil infused with herbs and vinegar to create a soft and tender mushroom with an earthy aroma and the perfect balance of acid.

The method used to preserve these mushrooms is not as involved as traditional pickling and doesn’t require an extensive canning procedure. You can choose to store these in a Ball jar, or any other airtight container, and keep them in your refrigerator for up to a month. The bonus is you also get a mushroom flavored oil after you strain them, so make sure to save that for another use.

Photo: Tara O’Keeffe

What to do with Preserved Mushrooms

Breakfast: Swirl cream cheese into grits and top with mushrooms; add to an egg omelet with goat cheese and chopped chives; spread onto buttered toast

Lunch: Toss in a salad with grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta; add to a roast beef sandwich with a slice of provolone

Dinner: Spoon over grilled meat or fish; add to a cheese pizza; toss with pasta, parmesan, pine nuts, and sage

Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

Tara O’Keeffe is a food writer and founder of FunFearlessFoodie.com.

Weekend Warrior: Preserved Mushrooms Recipe

Servings: Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp piment d'espelette or smoked paprika
  • 3 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions

1. Use a damp paper towel and remove any excess dirt from the mushrooms and remove the stems and any woody or bruised parts. If the mushrooms are the size of a quarter or smaller, keep whole, otherwise, cut into thick slices. The goal is to have the cooked mushrooms be bite-size.

2, Add the oil, herbs, and paprika to a large pot (enamel cast iron works great) and heat over medium high heat until the oil reaches 170 degrees on a thermometer. Add the mushrooms, toss to coat in the oil, and continue cooking for 5 minutes, ensuring the oil stays at 170 degrees. Turn off the heat and let mushrooms steep in the aromatic oil for 45 minutes. At first it will look like you don't have enough oil, but you will see after they steep that they shrink down and more than enough remains.

3. Store mushrooms covered in oil in an airtight container or canning jar and keep refrigerated for up to 1 month. To serve, strain mushrooms and reserve the flavored oil for later use.

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