Sunday, February 26, 2012

Simple Winter Mushrooms

I never really cared all that much for mushrooms. I think it was just the texture thing and the fact that they are a fungus. I mean really, who thinks that eating a fungus sounds appetizing? They are just kind of weird. That said however, in the past year or two, mushrooms have been growing on me. They can really add some nice flavor to different dishes, and can add meatiness to an otherwise umami-less meal. The more I use mushrooms, the more I like them. A few weeks ago I was at Eastern Market in Detroit on Saturday morning, picking up some vegetables to use over the next week. I got sidetracked when I walked by the guy selling mushrooms and saw these beauties. I knew I had to try them, even at twenty bucks a pound. I snatched up a quarter pound and took them home, not having any idea of what I was going to do with them.

I don't remember everything the mushroom man told me, but I believe these are winter chanterelles (if I'm wrong please let me know, I really know next to nothing about mushroom varieties). I just thought they were so pretty; the golden color and the slender elegance of the stems just made me want to eat them right there. I asked the mushroom man what to do with them, and he said all they need is a few minutes in a pan with butter, that sounded good to me.

After spending a few minutes online, I decided that I was just going to use butter and a little of the thyme that I had in my fridge. There is really no recipe for this, all I did was melt a nob of butter in my pan, threw in the thyme leaves and let the butter cook for a little while until it was starting to brown slightly, then in when the mushrooms. Sauté those up for 3-4 minutes and you're done, that's it. It couldn't be simpler, and the aroma in the kitchen was buttery and delicious. The results were outstanding. My very first thought upon taking a bite was, meaty. The mushrooms were so meaty and hearty, it was hard to believe they are a fungus, it was almost like eating a piece of meat. They were buttery (obviously) and full of flavor. There was nothing bland about these mushrooms. Adding the little bit of thyme really complemented the natural flavors, it was the perfect combo.

Although I probably won't buy these little guys again very often (too expensive), I will definitely make them again. So simple and so delicious. This experience has really made me excited to try other kinds of mushrooms, and to use mushrooms in new and different ways. They really are a unique and interesting food that I want to get more comfortable using and better at preparing in delicious ways.

 Delicate and beautiful

 A mushroom forest!

 Into the pan with the butter and thyme

 Saute for a few minutes

Plate them up, add a little salt, and dig in

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