I’ve always been told to think of mushrooms as sponges – they soak up anything they are submerged in (which is why most well-seasoned cooks will wipe them clean but not wash them in water). As we prepared for New Years I thought a lot about letting them soak as much butter as I could.
Many recipes for butter-poached mushrooms use a lot of butter and mix it with stock and other seasonings. My version is far more simple – it’s just as it sounds; mushrooms poached in butter. The final product is extremely rich and can be used as-is but my preference is to add other seasonings and texture after poaching. I do this by letting the mushrooms cool and then pan-searing or broiling them right before serving. This creates a more interesting texture and, in my opinion, a far more decadent final product.
- Phase 1
- 1 pound mushrooms
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- Phase 2
- The mushrooms from above
- Salt, pepper to taste
- Herbs to taste (rosemary and thyme are great)
- Hot pepper flakes (optional; I generally skip them even though I love hot peppers)
- 1-1.5 tablespoons of neutral oil (like grapeseed oil)
- 1 teaspoon acid (white or red wine vinegar as an example
- Melt butter under low-medium heat. The more patience you use, the better the final product.
- Add mushrooms and allow them to bathe under the gentle heat until they are soft. The lower the heat, the longer this will take (and the better the results). it can be as short as 10-15 minutes or you could leave for much longer (don’t worry about dedicating a day to this – just do it while you’re cooking the rest of your meal).
- Remove mushrooms from butter and allow them to return to room temperature before chilling in the fridge. You can use the infused butter that remains for any savory cooking (or even to butter bread if you’re eating or a hearty soup!)
Phase 2 – Before serving (they will store this way as well but have less texture)
- Turn broiler on or heat a heavy pan (I prefer cast iron). When it’s near smoking, it’s ready.
- Toss mushrooms in remaining ingredients.
- Brown the edges of the mushroom by broiling or pan searing as quickly as possible. 30 seconds to two minutes is about all you want; use caution turning them as they will be a little fragile.
They are great as-is or you can add them to other dishes (like spaghetti) as you serve them.