Certainly the simplest, yet to my taste, the most delicious way to prepare mushrooms whether cultivated or wild is to sauté them quickly in a little butter and neutral vegetable oil. The goal here is to use high enough heat and cook a small enough quantity to allow their moisture to evaporate quickly, so the mushrooms will brown. Too often I see home cooks sauté too many mushrooms over too low a heat, and the mushrooms just sit there and steam and “burble,” never developing their potential flavor. Even button mushrooms, which many cookbooks malign, can be pretty flavorful if you sauté them correctly and caramelize them a bit (or a lot). I like to sauté them to the point where they are deeply browned and beginning to crisp, almost like a chip. The flavor is fantastic!
Slice cleaned mushrooms thickly (a little more than ⅛ inch). Add equal parts butter and oil to a large sauté pan—about
Heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat until the butter just begins to color. (The coloring of the butter gives a rich, nutty flavor but be careful not to burn it.) Add the mushrooms, turn the heat up to high, and sauté the mushrooms. At first they may appear a bit dry, but soon they will begin to release their moisture.
© 2004 John Ash. All rights reserved.