Warmth, patience bring out mushrooms’ essence

Reassured by weather forecasters and lulled by my own wishing thinking, I assumed the rain would cease for several days. But I woke up this morning to a dark, dreary sky. Drizzle chased away the previous evening’s chill, but I bundled up in a scarf and donned a hat under my hood.

Demoralizing, that’s the term for fits and starts of sunshine and clear skies that surrender to gray masses of oppressive clouds. So it’s easy to see how contributors to a community cookbook hailing from Seattle came up with a name for this gray mass of food. Yet it’s all tongue-in-cheek, or perhaps gallows humor.

More commonly dubbed “duxelles,” by cooks and diners in the know, mushroom spread is anything but defeatist. It takes a familiar ingredient and, with heat and fat, coaxes it into a luxurious topping for toast, crackers, and crudities. A filling for omelets, quiche, lasagna, ravioli, turnovers or tarts, it’s a spark of inspiration despite its brooding, dark persona. Perfect for winter’s meal-planning blahs.

Thank artist Shannon Eakins whose recipe appears in the volume “Cook,” recirculated by Tribune News Service. You also can follow along with my podcast while preparing your own batch of duxelles.

Tribune News Service photo

Demoralized Mushroom Spread

8 ounces cremini, mini bella or whatever they call brown button mushrooms

1 cup Italian (flat) parsley leaves — typically the product of a small bunch

1 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled — how are cloves even a measurement? They vary in size so much!

4 tablespoons salted butter

1 teaspoon soy or tamari sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

A few grinds of black pepper

Juice from a half of a lemon — more if you need

With a food processor or by hand, mince the mushrooms, parsley and garlic.

Melt the butter in a low pan on medium and add minced ingredients to it before butter browns.

Now watch.

Mushrooms start to sweat and release their water. Parsley wilts. It becomes a soupy mess. Add the soy, Worcestershire and pepper. Lower heat a little. Stir periodically.

How long do you simmer? It’s different every time. Look at it. Has the moisture evaporated? Has the parsley wilted and darkened? Is there a buttery corona forming around the edges? Have the mushrooms given up? If so, add the lemon juice and simmer for another minute or so.

Serve warm or lukewarm.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Categories

  • Archives