Everyone has those moments when the virus makes them a little crazy. My mother’s came when I went over to carry her kitty litter into the house. (Don’t worry, I washed my hands thoroughly and kept my distance from her.) As I was leaving, she cried “Wait! Wait!”
I returned to the deck, wondering if I’d put the kitty litter in the wrong place.
“You’ll need mushrooms!” she said, inexplicably, and thrust a mostly-full package of baby bellas at me.
My mother is made of sterner stuff than I am: she buys her mushrooms whole. I lazily buy the sliced ones, comforting myself that she is retired and has time for such labors. (This isn’t much comfort. She bought her mushrooms whole when she was working, too.)
But I do have one good recipe for mushrooms, a simple baked dish that, I immediately realized, would perfectly complement the braised oxtails I had in the freezer. So last night, we heated up some oxtails, and beside them, we cooked these delicious, garlicky mushrooms.
As I was quartering the mushrooms, something else occurred to me: my twitter followers had asked me for recipes that even a beginner could make. This is definitely one of those recipes, because as long as you have a knife, some sort of baking dish, and of course, some mushrooms, you too can enjoy it, no special skills required. And it is highly amenable to substitution if you don’t have all the ingredients: olive oil can be used for butter, and anything else can be left out, if, say, you don’t much like garlic.
- 1 pound of whole mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley, coarsely chopped (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. This means you turn it to the correct temperature, then walk away and leave it for fifteen minutes–or, more likely, prepare your mushrooms.
- Wash your mushrooms carefully, making sure to remove any dirt
- Cut them into quarters and place into a baking dish
- Cut the butter into approximately 1/4 inch pieces, and mince your garlic (you can buy pre-minced garlic in jars, or better yet, get tubes of it in the produce-section refrigerator case under the Gourmet Garden brand). Mix the garlic, soy sauce and butter chunks with the mushrooms in your baking dish. Cover with the lid or aluminum foil. Place in the oven. Belatedly realize as you are wiping down the counters that you forgot to take a photograph of this step, and that it is too late to do anything about that.
- Bake for an hour, give or take. When you take it out of the oven, it should look like this
- Now your parsley–strictly optional, but awfully pretty. You just need a few sprigs.
- Which you chop coarsely, using a sharp knife, because a dull knife will not chop your parsley; it will just worry it a little. When finished, it should look like this.
- Now stir it into your mushrooms and add salt and pepper to taste. Remember to add just a little at a time, because as my mother liked to say, you can always put more in, but you can’t take it out.
- Eat! It makes an especially great side dish for beef, but I’ve never found anything it doesn’t go with, if you know what I mean.