Baby Shitakes Mama

I swear to Goddess that shitake mushrooms must be aphrodisiacs. I just crrraaaaveee the crispy, buttery, nutty, earthy goodness you can only get from some sauteed shrooms. This is definitely a recipe I riff on often with all different kinds of shrooms – crimini, trumpet, chanterelle…but my favorite is baby shitake, the large ones sliced work fine too, but there is something special about the hunt for perfect heirloom baby shitakes. They hold a more potent flavor and tenderness in addition to being slice free. These sexy little babies are sure to please a vegetarian husband or a carnivorous gluten-freer like me.

This is just the way I make shitakes. Maybe you have a different method, but my is simple and is centered around quality, fresh mushrooms. Find yours at a market that specializes in produce or at the farmer’s market, perhaps your got some shrooms in your CSA box – all will work. Avoid shrooms that have taken on a fishy smell. These are bad. Back away from the shroom.

Baby Shitakes Mama

3+ cups of baby shitake mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped shallots

4 or 5 garlic cloves

1 tblsp. dried thyme or two large sprigs of fresh

1 tblsp. olive oil

2 tblsp. butter or Earthbalance

Sea salt to taste

Squeeze of half a lemon

Grind of black pepper

Spray of canola oil

I know “they” say don’t wash mushrooms but inevitably shrooms are dirty, I mean they do grow mere inches from the ground. I like my shrooms earthy, but only to a point. So, I lovingly rinse my shrooms in a strainer careful to remove stuff on pieces of dirt with a paper towel. When done, I towel dry them as best I can without mashing them. I prep my shallots and slice them pretty thin and chopped my skinned garlic. I use a large and seasoned cast iron pan in order to get my mushrooms, garlic and onions nice and crispy. The best way to do that is by warming of the pan first on medium/high then spraying it with a thin layer of canola oil – PAM makes an organic one, woot! I toss in the onions  and garlic first and give them a little whirl then toss in my mushrooms and spread them over the pan in an even layer. I let them cook on high for 3 -4 minutes to allow them to get browned, then toss them and do the same on another side. I then through in the olive oil and coat them. Stir in the Thyme and let the mushrooms cook for another 10-12 minutes, make sure they are no longer sponger. At the end melt the butter in with the mushrooms, stir a minute or two, turn off the heat, add salt, pepper and your squeeze of lemon. Toss some more. Taste. Yummmmmmeriff. Put on top of pasta, rice, or  grilled meats.

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