Grilled Mushroom Caps

Use portobello or field mushrooms, although if you can find and afford them, fresh cèpes (porcini or any boletus) or matsutake would be by far the best.

The old tradition of “mushrooms under glass” is still worth noting: the mushrooms were served on toast with an herb butter sauce, and came to the table under a glass dome. When the dome was raised in front of the diners, the aroma was released all around the table. Not a bad touch, any time.

Ingredients

  • 6 large portobello or field mushroom caps
  • ½ tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup Italian parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Rub the mushroom caps all over with a mixture of the thyme, garlic, and olive oil. Cover and let marinate for an hour.

Start a charcoal fire or heat the broiler. Cook the mushrooms over medium heat for 5 minutes and then turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes. Rake away the fire so that the heat is low (or turn down the broiler), and continue to cook another 15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are very tender. In the last five minutes of cooking, throw the marinade ingredients on the fire to smoke the mushrooms a bit.

Variations

The mushrooms are delicious with nothing added, or perhaps just a mixture of equal parts chopped garlic chives, lemon zest, and Italian parsley. The real secret is not the garnish but the slow cooking of the mushrooms. But a foie gras sauce, with or without black truffles, would be awfully good, and a lobster or prawn rémoulade would be wonderfully over the top! And if you are not nervous about beef marrow, then by all means poach 1-inch-thick slices in salted water for 3 minutes, roll the slices in black butter, put on top of the mushrooms, season, and put under the broiler for 2 minutes. Finish by sprinkling with a little sea salt.

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