It’s the last day of 2014. Wow. Another year over, a new year just around the corner. So what are your plans for 2015? I’ve long quit making big plans, because I find that it’s better to see what can develop and take it from there. So much healthier for people like me any way. If I get too caught up wanting something and then don’t get it, I’m miserable. So with wisdom (ok, it’s mainly age), I’ve concluded that it’s better for me to start small and then dream in small steps. One thing I have planned though is to finish presenting the recipes for my holiday feast. There’s only two or three more recipes to go – and then we’re through. After that, who knows?! I have a bunch of unposted recipes and a few experiments planned. Que sera, sera…
But, first things first.Let’s finish up this year and let 2014 go out with a bang. With one one of my favorite sides – like ever! Oven-baked mushrooms.
I find that you can use any mushroom that’s in season with this recipe, and that mixing several mushroom types can also be a nice way of adding a little chutzpah to whatever you’re serving during those cold winter days.
This is a side that practically cooks itself. Also, it always looks great and the cook is always rewarded with “oooooohs” and “aaaaaaaahs” from the crowd (unless there’s someone in there who doesn’t like mushrooms, in which case I say: tough noogie!). Also, if you season with fresh herbs (I only recommend this for oyster or button mushrooms though), these also make a fantastic antipasti and can be served cold along with other typically Italian appetizers, such as grilled eggplant or zucchini. They’re also a great addition to any type of hearty salad!
500g mushrooms (e.g. shiitake, oyster or button mushrooms)
olive oil or butter
parsley (optional, I don’t recommend it for shiitake mushrooms though)
salt (I prefer Fleur de Sel) and pepper to taste
Heat your oven to 220°C.
Clean your mushrooms (I do this under water, I know, it’s a sin, but that’s how I think they’re cleanest), and place into a fire-proof dish or onto a baking tin which you have lined with baking parchment. I prepared my shiitake ahead of time for the holiday feast, and kept them in a large plastic bowl. At the bottom of the bowl, I placed a paper kitchen towel and then added a layer of clean shiitake, upon which I placed another kitchen towel upon which another layer of mushrooms were placed. And so on. This way, the mushrooms didn’t absorb any of the water I had cleaned them with and were still fresh and firm before I baked them.
Sprinkle mushrooms with a generous amount of olive oil or butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place dish with mushroom into your oven and bake for about half an hour (or until tender). Remove from oven, allow fat to drain from your mushrooms and serve them immediately. If you want to serve this as antipasti (or add it to a salad), allow to cool completely. If need be, you can keep these in a tightly shut plastic container in your fridge for several days. Serve them cold, but not as cold as your fridge…