Growing up, I was one of those kids that hated mushrooms. I avoided them at all costs. If I was being served something that had mushrooms, you could guarantee that I’d have every piece of them picked out before I was done – no matter how small. And if the main ingredient was mushrooms, good luck getting me near it.
Over time, my tastes changed and I realized how good mushrooms are (too bad it was after I moved away from home, where morels are very easy to find and pick in the spring!). There is just something about the texture and flavor of different mushrooms that adds tremendous depth to many dishes. Instead of avoiding them, I look for ways to use them in just about anything I can, and try out any variety I can get my hands on.
Sautéed mushrooms are great because they focus on just one thing – the mushroom itself. By adding a few miscellaneous herbs and seasonings we can build and highlight this basic food. And then, by serving it as a side dish, we get to use it to accentuate the rest of the meal as well (garlic rosemary steaks being a good place to start). I think the only bad thing about sautéed mushrooms is that the finished volume is so small compared to how much you start with (although I doubt the weight changes very much). And since they are a dish that usually has people asking for seconds, you’ll want to plan for a lot of mushrooms to start.
- 3/4 lb large crimini mushrooms (white or brown), sliced about 1/8″ thick
- 2 large (or 4 small) cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
- 2 scallions (green onions), finely chopped
- 3 tbsp grass-fed pastured butter
- 3 tbsp pastured bacon fat
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Start by prepping the ingredients. Clean the mushrooms (for this recipe, I would not wash them as it may allow them to soak up moisture that impairs good sautéing, but instead use a soft brush to get any dirt off of them), then slice and place in a large bowl. Chop the scallions and put in a smaller prep bowl with the pressed garlic.
Get a heavy sauté pan heated on medium heat and melt 2 tbsp each of butter and bacon fat in the pan. When the pan is fully heated, toss in the scallions and garlic and toss around for about 1 minute to start cooking and infuse the fat with some flavor.
Add in the mushrooms and continue tossing/stirring to cook for about 10 minutes. Add more butter or bacon fat if needed to keep them from sticking, as they will absorb a tremendous amount when first thrown into the pan. Toward the end of the 10 minutes, they will look as they do above – reduced in volume considerably, but still firm.
Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the mushrooms, stirring well, and reduce the heat to very low (this is where to use that simmer burner if you have one). Allow to simmer at this low heat for about 6 minutes more for the flavors to all mix well.
Transfer to a serving bowl, while trying to resist just grabbing a fork and eating the whole batch yourself. This recipe makes about four servings – so if you need more, you will need to work in batches or use a large heavy wok or dutch oven (to maintain good heat throughout). Enjoy!