Domesticity Nouveau

Monday, November 14, 2011

Marinated Mushrooms

These wonderful marinated mushrooms would be a welcome appetizer or snack at any party!  With the holiday season coming around, it is the perfect time to learn a quick and easy recipe that you can bring to your gatherings.  They also make a great topping for salads or a side dish to a steak!

When I have to travel, I pack a cooler full of fun picnic type foods.  It is difficult to be assured that I can find gluten-free foods on the road, so I just eliminate any potential of being ill (or hungry!) on a road trip by planning ahead.  It also saves money and is much higher quality!

I like to try some new sort of treat for each trip and this time I went for marinated mushrooms.  They are one of my favorite options at the high priced olive bars and I knew they had to be easy and cheaper to make, so I dug through a bunch of recipes and melded them together.

The base is oil and vinegar with seasonings and salt.  The salt helps draw the moisture out of the ‘shrooms and ups the flavor.  Don’t be intimidated by the heavy hand of salt in the recipe, in no way does it create mushroom salt licks!  Since the simplicity of this recipe is a vinaigrette dressing, you could potentially use a bottled salad dressing, but the few moments of whipping together a JERF version makes this MARVELOUS!, rather than just good.

My husband always teases me about all the jars I save, but when I make something as tasty as this, it justifies my jar obsession!  The best part of this recipe is it can all be made in one jar (or bowl), leaving you with minimum dishes to wash!  I love a lazy recipe.

Marinated Mushrooms


Ingredients
1 lb button mushrooms
1 red pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp dried lemon zest
1 tsp Italian herbs
1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp kosher flake salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions
Mix all but mushrooms and peppers together.  Slice red pepper into bite size strips and if necessary, quarter or halve mushrooms into bite size pieces.  Add mushrooms and peppers to marinade, stir (or shake) to get everything covered with goodness and let sit in the refrigerator at least one hour, preferably overnight. 

Questions, questions, who has questions?!

Do I have to use olive oil?
Nope, but it is the best option for getting a really good flavor!  This is a time to use your good extra virgin olive oil so that the flavor really shines.  If you can’t bear to part with 2/3 cups of your good stuff, go half and half with your fancy stuff and your common use oil.  You can really use any oil you want, but remember that the flavor is going to greatly influence the end results.

Why two vinegars?
I like balsamic vinegar.  A lot.  However, it is a strong flavor and can overwhelm everything else in a dish.  To get a good balance of yummy balsamic flavor, I decided to cut the super punch of the balsamic with milder white wine vinegar.  You can use any vinegar you would like in the amount of 1/4 cup, but just like the oil, the vinegar is a predominant flavor against the subtle mushrooms.  You could even use juice from your jar of pickled peppers.  That would really spice things up!

I don’t like red peppers, do I have to use them?
Of course not!  You can use any vegetables you like!  Carrots, green beans, asparagus, cauliflower, green peppers  Throw in some Kalamata olives or pepperonicis.  Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and Brussels spouts will likely impart an unpleasant flavor, so avoid those in the mix.  I came across several recipes that even used leftover steamed and roasted veggies in the marinade mix!   Talk about changing up your leftovers!

How do I clean mushrooms?
You can either wipe them clean with a paper towel, rinse them under running water or give them a quick swish in a bowl of water.  There is always debate over which way is best.  Soaking mushrooms for any length of time in water will effect them, but a quick rinse or swish under water isn't going to make any impact in my experience.  I'm cheap, so I don't like to waste my paper towels on mushrooms.  I used white mushrooms for this recipe, but crimini should work well, too.  I prefer to save the fancy expensive mushrooms for a recipe where they shine... the vinaigrette of marinated mushrooms would overpower the delicate loveliness of some of the more expensive gourmet 'shrooms.

Just mix it all up in a jar to save doing dishes!
What about the seasonings?
You can season the mix however you prefer.  The base is the oil, vinegar and salt.  Everything else is going to change up the flavor.  Try Greek seasoning in place of the Italian or maybe some Herbes de Provence.  Use orange zest in place of lemon zest.    Leave out the Aleppo pepper, or make it extra spicy with diced jalapeno instead.  Try a 1/4 cup of diced red onion in place of the shallot.  There are so many ways to customize this recipe, just keep the oil, vinegar, salt ratio and season as desired.

I don’t have dried lemon zest, how much fresh should I use?
I adore Penzeys’ dried lemon zest!  I never remember to buy lemons at the market and at 10 p.m. the last thing I want to do is run out for a lemon.  If you happen to be more on your game than me and have a fresh lemon, you’ll want about a teaspoon of fresh zest.

Before marinating overnight
Do I have to make it in a jar?
Of course not!  You can make this in any vessel you chose.  I just chose a jar because it was handy.  I do start the jar out upside down so the marinade gets a chance to make friends with the mushrooms on the top, and then flip it part way through.  You can make this in any bowl or dish, giving a stir if needed to get all the 'shrooms a chance to make nice with the lovely flavors of the liquid.


There is a lot less marinade in the jar than my mushrooms.  Is that okay?
As the mushrooms sit for a while, the salt will pull the moisture from them and they will shrink a bit.  I put my jar in the refrigerator upside down for a while and then turn it right side up before going to bed.  That lets the top mushrooms get a good soaking before the bottom mushrooms get to linger in the lovely juice.  As they sit for a while the liquid will increase in volume.  Make sure you have a jar with a lid you trust before storing it upside down!  No one wants a mess in their fridge!  If in doubt, or simply extra cautious, place the jar in a small bowl... just in case.

After marinating overnight
Now that they have sat, I have A LOT of marinade... what else can I do with it?
When you serve your mushrooms, drain off the marinade and save it for your next salad.  It is now a mushroom and pepper infused Italian vinaigrette dressing!  You can add a dollop of Dijon mustard and whisk away till your reach salad dressing heaven. 

Happy Marinating!

3 comments:

  1. Ohhh...This looks yummy! Found you on Pinterest!

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  2. Thanks for stopping by, Vanilla Mama! They are so yummy and sooo very easy, my favorite kind of thing to make... easy!

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  3. I am making these right now...but I opted for jalapeno instead of red bell pepper because I was making stuffed jalapenos, and I was soo not going to the store again today! I cannot wait to taste these babies!

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