mushroom salad

This recipe from my secret private archive was originally planned as an ingredient to a Nice-style mixed vegetable salad, private brand. Because I wanted the mushrooms to assume a vinegary garlicky character before adding them to the salad, I prepared them ahead of time. Then there was no Nice-style mixed vegetable salad. I decided to have the mushrooms as a dish of their own, and this is how:

Prepare a bowl big enough to hold the mushroom slices after cooking, with a mix of nice vinegars, such as half red, half white wine vinegar, chopped garlic to taste (without the green inner part – they say it’s hard to digest and keeps you awake at night; an effect that is probably caused by some sort of ancient voodoo charm), salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar. This mix wants to be stirred until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Taste to make sure that the balance is good. If you’re a fan of the Moosewood Cookbook, you may want to add some tamari to the sauce. I do not add tamari to my mushrooms: fresh mushrooms, well prepared, don’t need it.

Take fresh white mushrooms, enough for everyone to be happy, but not too many.

Shopping for mushrooms cannot be anything else than impulse-based. There do exist those days where the new batch that is being poured on top of the old wrinkled ones (without taking the old ones away, obviously) consists of absolutely pristine, creamy-white, crispy mushrooms. The day before yesterday was not such a day. I saw the girl at the grocery store refill the mushroom container with a new batch that had shrunken brown stems and patches all over. If you can’t get fresh mushrooms, don’t get any mushrooms at all.

Brush the mushrooms clean, but do not rinse. Cut them stem-to-top or-top-to stem into 5mm slices.
Heat half ‘n half olive oil and butter in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat. One needs about 6 tablespoons of cooking fat for each handful of mushroom, at the very least. When the butter just begins to turn golden, add the mushroom slices and cook on high heat on all available sides until they stop frying and start boiling.

Add no salt, for once.

Transfer the mushrooms right into the vinegar mix and toss about for a while. Stir occasionally while they cool down to room temperature. Add some finely hacked fresh parsley.

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