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Who will argue that the simplest things are the best? You can add all kinds of seasoning to mushrooms, cheeses and creams; you can roast them or grill them or deep fry them; cook them whole or chop them up; have them raw if that’s what you fancy – but nothing beats crisp and golden slices fried in butter.
My daughter refuses to have steak sans fried mushrooms – she shuts up about it in good restaurants, thank God. The Weather Man used to despise ‘ordinary’ cup ‘shrooms favouring porcini and ceps whenever he could get them (aren’t some of us refined?), but he’ll shovel up these happily. There is no better extra to your breakfast egg on toast than a pile of scorched brown slices.
They have to be cooked properly though. The cardinal sin against fried breakfast is not microwaved bacon, or cardboard sausages – it’s limpid, soggy pale mushrooms. Like eggs, they HAVE TO be fried, with butter and/or oil, in a skillet, far, far away from the microwave. They don’t take very long to cook but when they release moisture and shrink a little, leave them alone. Stir around, up the heat and season only when the moisture is beginning to disappear. That’s when they start to cook properly. They’ll go golden brown and crisp and delicious, just toss them around so most scorch on both sides.
There’s no need though to flip every single slice to make sure all are done to perfection, especially if you’re cooking a pound of them.
I only do it very occasionally…
fried mushroomsServings: 2Time: 15 minutes
- 300g (9oz.) chestnut or cup mushrooms, cleaned
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. groundnut oil
- salt and black pepper
- a bunch of wild garlic (when seasonal) or parsley leaves, chopped
Slice the mushrooms quite thinly, about ½ cm (¼ in).
Heat up oil and butter in a very large cast iron or heavy frying pan over high heat.
When it’s foaming, add the mushrooms. Fry them, stirring or tossing over high heat until they release moisture and start to absorb it back, about 10 minutes (depending how crowded they are in the pan). When they start to colour, turn the heat down to medium and season them generously with salt and black pepper.
Continue frying/sautéing until most slices are crisp on both sides. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs and serve immediately.