Thursday, December 9, 2010

Marinated Mushrooms

     There are hundreds of different kinds of mushrooms available. Each with it's own unique texture and taste. Neither plant nor animal, mushrooms are very good for you and offer a variety of health benefits not found in other foods.  I don't really care about all that, I love the taste. The following recipe is one of my favourite ways to prepare them.

Marinated Mushrooms
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 lb mushrooms
5 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon oregano*
½ teaspoon basil*
2 green onions chopped
½ teaspoon chili flakes
1-2 bay leaves
10-15 peppercorns
1 teaspoon strained fresh lemon juice/ balsamic vinegar
Diced red pepper for garnish
Clean mushrooms thoroughly.
In a medium saucepan, bring all other ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 5 minutes. You are infusing the vinegar and oil with the flavours of the herbs and spices.
Add mushrooms, re-cover and cook for another minute. This blanches the mushrooms, allowing the marinade to penetrate more easily.
Remove from heat, uncover and cool. Stir in red pepper garnish.
Refrigerate, when cooled.
This can be used as soon as it cools but is better if left overnight. Keeps about a month refrigerated.
* If using fresh herbs, double the quantity. 

     The oil and vinegar are the legs of this recipe. I always use extra virgin oil but if you like the taste you can use any grade. I have used red wine, cider and regular vinegar to vary the taste but prefer red wine. All of the spices can be increased, decreased, omitted or substituted, it all depends on what you like.
    Don't cook this uncovered or let it remain at a boil. Vinegar evaporates quickly when heated. You'll end up boiling it off, then you have to start again. I know, I've done it making spiced vinegar for ketchup.

     This recipe also works for vegetables but the procedure is a little different. If you are marinating beans, carrots, broccoli or cauliflower the procedure is the same, just cook a little longer, 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables are tender or blanche them before you add them to the marinade.

     If you are using eggplant, onions, zucchini or peppers, grill them a little first and pour the marinade over them while both are still hot. I don't know how long the vegetables will keep, at least a week I would imagine, but mine never last. I usually drain the marinade after  a couple of hours, these can get a little soggy if left too long. These are also the ones I use Balsamic vinegar with.

         Add some olives and you've got you own antipasto plate. Toss them in a salad or use them in sandwiches. I serve mine at room temperature to allow all the different tastes to come through. Enjoy.

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