roast the night away, and saute the fungus among us

Last night, we had a little dilemma on our hands. There were some leftovers, but not really enough for both of us to have dinner, so we decided to make a few smaller dishes.

First, we chopped up a couple of zucchini to roast. After roasting vegetables for years in a glass baking dish, I’m a recent convert to roasting on a baking sheet and at a much higher heat, no less than 500 degrees. This really ensures that the vegetables don’t dry out as they cook, and using a baking sheet means less crowding and piling, which can steam the vegetables and turn them a bit soft.

After giving them a heavy dose of olive oil and a light dusting of salt and pepper, we pulled these puppies out about fifteen minutes after they went in the oven. We’ve made roasted veggies like this a few times in the last couple weeks and it usually ends with Max and I fighting over the last bites. Look at that browning! MMM. About a week ago we devoured an entire head of cauliflower after roasting it!

Obviously, though, even a whole zucchini wasn’t going to be enough for me. So I dug around in the refrigerator and realized that I had not been eating enough mushrooms lately. This was an ideal conclusion to come to while noticing a bag of chanterelles and shitakes from the Union Square Greenmarket.

I found out a few years ago that mushrooms have a remarkable tolerance to high heat. Did you know that? Of course, burnt mushrooms are nobody’s friend, but if you keep them moving, you can saute mushrooms in a high heat oil for five minutes and get a really great texture from them. The mushroom dish I’m most fond of has an adjustable recipe that follows the same pattern:

Mushroom-Shallot side dish

1-2 cups mushrooms (pretty much any kind), sliced

1 large shallot (or 2 small ones)

3-4 tbsp high heat oil, like safflower, peanut or canola

1 tbsp butter

Normally, I’m not a big mise-en-place kind of girl, but since you’re dealing with high heat, it’s better to get everything chopped so as not to discover your mushrooms are about to burn and you didn’t have time to finish peeling a shallot. So,

Step 1) Slice your mushrooms and shallots.

Step 2) Heat the oil in a saute pan over high heat (we used stainless steel but nonstick can work)

Step 3) Add the mushrooms. Stir almost constantly for about five minutes, or a little longer (this can depend on how many mushrooms you have in the pan).

Step 4) Turn the heat to medium and add the shallot(s). Stir until shallots have cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Step 5) Add the butter and mix.

The one risk with this dish is using too much oil. Remember that mushrooms don’t need as much as you might think at first, because they liquify a bit as they cook. But this is a great side dish, and it can also be used to mix with….surprise! Pasta! I love mushroomy pasta and if you add a pinch of chopped garlic and a dash of olive oil, you’ve got a delightful pasta dish.

Don’t worry, I didn’t eat a whole zucchini and a whole plate of pasta–I had some leftovers! Luckily, I ate those for lunch so we won’t be back to the same leftover dilemma tonight.

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