Technique: How to Sauté Mushrooms

Mushrooms, sauteeing in a pan

Sautéed mushrooms can change an entire dish. From time to time, this simple kitchen staple can even save a dish on the brink of ruination. Take this past Shabbos: my family loves rare roast beef. But when you reheat it on the hotplate it loses its ruddy color and turns into undercooked (read: tough) pot roast.

Faced with this Shabbat second meal challenge, I had an inspiration and picked up two baskets of mushrooms at the market, and sautéed the devil out of them. They oozed so much liquid I feared the mushrooms would turn rubbery as they finished cooking. But no. They were perfect with intense mushroom flavor and a nice tender texture.

Once the liquid cooked out, I piled them on the slices of beef, and they reheated gorgeously and had the added savor of the mushrooms, to make up for the loss of that nice, rare umami taste.

I did the mushrooms the way my mom taught me: sauté the sliced mushrooms, separating the slices so they don’t stick to each other, in a few tablespoons of your cooking fat of choice (I used shallot oil), wait until the mushrooms exude their liquid, and then continue to sauté the ‘shrooms until all the liquid evaporates. Close to the end of cooking, you can salt and pepper them to taste.

Add the mushrooms to anything savory to punch up the flavor and add a nice textural component.

Two little baskets of mushrooms yielded a very small amount of finished product. But what a finished product they were! Full of mushroomy piquance.


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