Saturday, September 13, 2008

Highly Addictive

This little recipe should come with a warning label. Honest to goodness, it is more addictive than those Crispy, Flattened Potatoes that I've been running on about all summer long. Orangette posted the recipe for these mushrooms, adapted from Jamie's Italy, back in May (in MAY!) and I was intrigued enough to bookmark it, but you know how time just gets away from you? Well, that's what happened.

That, and sometimes I'm just not as smart as I like to think I look.

I mean, what could go wrong with this recipe, right? It was developed by Jamie Oliver, who has the only cooking show I still watch these days, and was heartily gushed about by Molly Wizenberg, who has arguably become one of my favorite food writers. And she made these mushrooms sound positively luscious.

So what did I do? Well, I filed it away for future reference and then, week after week, came upon it and thought, "Oh, yeah. I really ought to try that sometime."

Brilliant, huh?

In my defense, I was waiting for the day (which never did come, I might add), when I would find some local wild mushrooms at the farmer's market. This recipe is such a simple one, with only a handful of ingredients, that I knew it would be in tip-top form only with the best-quality inputs. And truly, even though Orangette made it sound mouth-wateringly close-your-eyes-and-moan scrumptious, I was still just a tad bit suspicious. After all, how could some sliced mushrooms topped with a little melted cheese really be such a delectable treat?

I have trust issues.

Finally, earlier this week, I was making a mad dash through the supermarket on a desperate soy milk run when I came to a screeching halt directly in front of a display of cremini mushrooms. Normally, especially in the summer when I'm flush with locally-grown veggies, I don't even cut my eyes to the side while rushing through the store to pick up staples, but the pull was just too strong this time. I fought the urge for a split second and then threw the package into my cart, knowing full well that I had an extra ball of mozzarella in my fridge that needed to be used and fast.

I don't even remember what else I made for dinner that night. The mushrooms were THAT good. So good, in fact, that after my eyes rolled back in my head with the first bite, I started pulling the serving dish closer and closer to my end of the table. I love my family, but not quite enough to share these. And it's kind of sad to admit this, but I wolfed them down so quickly that only minutes later, I was completely unable to actually describe their taste - not really an ideal position for an amateur aspiring food writer to find herself.

I knew I had to share this recipe though. Not having words to describe the flavor is NOT a good excuse to keep this all to myself. Really, you will love it. Would you just trust me, just this one time?

'Course, you might have trust issues, too. Lucky for us all, I've had uncontrollable hankerings for these mushrooms all week, and The Big Boy has been hassling me to death about them, so I made them again just now for a little snack.

They're enchanting, I tell you. And the taste is, oh, for pity's sake, it's truly indescribable. Have you heard of that supposed fifth flavor, umami? That word was, I swear, invented for this exact recipe. I'm not out on much of a limb with that theory either, since umami is in fact used to describe the flavor of mushrooms.

Each bite of these little slices of mushroom has hints of sweetness from the cheese that plays beautifully off the slight saltiness of the dish. And just those few short minutes under the broiler cook the mushrooms to the most perfect texture, enough to bring out the tenderness and to make them ooze a little bit of juice into the platter, where it marries with the olive oil to create the most ambrosial bread-dipping sauce you've ever had.

If I had any more mushrooms, I would make them again right now. And I wouldn't share.

*****

MUSHROOMS WITH MOZZARELLA (adapted from Orangette and Jamie's Italy, yield: never enough)
  • 4 oz wild mushrooms, sliced thinly (about 1/4-inch thickness)
  • 2 to 3 oz fresh mozzarella
  • tsp or so good-quality olive oil
  • pinch of dried Italian seasoning, dried thyme, or 1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • pinch of kosher salt
  1. Wait until no one else is around so you don't have to share.
  2. In an ovenproof platter or small casserole dish (about 8-inch by 8-inch), lay the mushroom slices in a single layer.
  3. Pinch off nickel-sized pieces of the mozzarella and scatter over the mushrooms.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Sprinkle with the herbs and salt.
  6. Place under the broiler for about 2 minutes, just until the cheese is bubbly and brown in spots (see photo above).
  7. Serve immediately, with bread to sop up the crazy-good juices in the bottom of the dish.

13 comments:

Zoƫ said...

We LOVE mushrooms! I'll have to try this.

Jarrod said...

Holy spores that sounds good! I know what you mean about having recipes filed away. I have a stack of Cooking Light magazines about three feet high waiting for me and my scissors to go through, and I just got a new subscription on top of that.

Shel @ Life With Seven said...

Sounds simple and delicious. No worries about sharing here, I'm the only one in my family who likes mushrooms, so this is a perfect dish to make;-)

Anonymous said...

Quick question for you... In the chocolate/strawberry/oatmeal cookies you had written

"# 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
# 1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup whole-wheat flour".

Does that just mean 1/8 cup of each type? At first I thought it meant you use 1/4 cup at first, and then the other 1/8 cup later in the recipe, but that doesn't make sense. I'm hoping to make these tomorrow with my 2-year-old nephew so I don't want to mess up!

Thanks in advance!
-The Original Anonymous Lurker

Anonymous said...

PS Do you think it would matter if I used dried cranberries instead of strawberries? Because that's all I've got... I'm one of those people who is afraid to deviate from the recipe!

-TOAL

(This might show up twice, not sure if it went through last time.)

Anonymous said...

Last comment, I promise.

For the granola, what is sesame oil and why do you use it? Is it just healthier or would the recipe not turn out if I used olive oil?

You're like my personal Pioneer Woman... she gets hundreds of comments so she can't answer. You answer comments, are vegetarian, PLUS don't use nearly as much butter as her! What more could I ask for??

-TOAL

Sarah Beam said...

TOAL - flattery will get you everywhere, my friend. For the flour, I had wondered if I was being obtuse with my measurements. Essentially, what I am saying is to use 3/8 cup of each of the two types. The original recipe called for 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour, but I decided to substitute 1/2 whole wheat. Since I am an accountant, I had to get all sanctimonious about the whole thing. So use 3/8 cup of whole wheat flour and 3/8 cup of all-purpose flour. I am gonna have to get a little clearer if I will ever be taken seriously.

As for the sesame oil, truthfully I just happened to have some on hand and it had the flavor I was looking for. Olive oil would work fine as long as you used a mild one (strongly flavored ones will alter the taste too much). You could use any of those cool nut oils that are out there as well. Peanut oil is one of my favorites, especially for making popcorn and brownies.

Dried cranberries (I think I am answering your questions out of order) would work great with these cookies, as would dried cherries.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Morgan's Mom said...

We are definitely trying this!

Suzanne said...

These were AWESOME. I'm enchanted too!

Also, you love brownies, I remember reading that: Toblerone brownies. I haven't made them, but heck, have a link anyway:

http://behindthechild.blogspot.com/2007/10/toblerone-brownies.html?showComment=1193266080000

Sarah Beam said...

I'm so glad you tried these, Suzanne. I'm thinking about throwing together a batch for breakfast.

And yes, ma'am, I do INDEED have a thing for brownies. I'm clicking on that link right now...

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

I got a huge box of mushrooms in this weeks organic veg box, now I now what I'm making with them - thank you!

Sarah Beam said...

Ah, kitchen goddess, I just picked up some local, organic wild mushrooms from our co-op yesterday and I'm already planning to make these again. I love it when a recipe is that easy, that quick, and THAT good.