I admit it: I like mushrooms. My favorite niece dismisses them as “fungi,” but I still like them. When I lived in Texas, I would borrow my roommate’s deep fryer and cook us up a great batch of onion rings and fried mushrooms. Today, for me, they most often make a tasty addition to pizzas and salads. When cooked up, they can also grace the top of steaks or chicken or be stirred into stews, soups, and omelets. A Portobello Mushroom even makes a great sandwich all on its own.
Enjoying mushrooms all these years, I have cooked up millions of them. It is so easy to do, I always figured, “How could anyone mess up this simple process?” But, apparently, I was. After stumbling onto a cooking segment on an afternoon talk show, I realized I was doing it wrong all these years. There is a correct way to sauté mushrooms. It is an easy process, and the results are so much better than just frying them up in a pan. The steps are actually pretty easy to follow:
1. Get your mushrooms—clean them, dry them, slice them.
2. Set a pan on a medium heat for a few minutes so it gets hot.
3. Add a small bit of oil, preferably olive oil but any vegetable oil would work.
4. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms to cover the bottom of the pan, but do not overcrowd!
5. You will hear a sizzling sound and see steam rising from the pan—resist the temptation to turn or stir the mushrooms. The steam is just the water in the mushrooms being released.
6. After a couple minutes, turn the mushrooms, and they will be a nice toasty brown.
7. (Of course, add the rest of the mushrooms, so they all are browned).
8. Finally, at the end of the process, add some butter (maybe a tablespoon or so) and some minced garlic. If added earlier, these great flavors just go up and out with the steam.
9. Enjoy—these lovely fungi are now ready to augment a steak or baked potato, added to soup, or simply served on toasted sour dough with a little freshly grated parmesan cheese.