Mushrooms Provençal

Champignons à la Provençale

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Servings:

    3 or 4

Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

This is the easiest and best method of treating any number of mushrooms whose native flavors tend to be a bit flat, such as the milk caps (Lactarius deliciosus or L. sanguifluus), spreading hedgehog mushrooms (Dentinum repandum—known as pieds de mouton in France), or trumpets of death (Craterellus cornucopioides). Cultivated mushrooms are often prepared in this way also and, despite a more alluring personality, chanterelles (Cantharellus cibarius) are most commonly treated this way. They, unlike the others, must first be disgorged of their excess liquid before being sautéed.

The garlic is usually finely chopped, but its presence will be more discreet if it is pureed and mixed with the chopped parsley.

If, after carefully trimming the earthy stem ends, it is possible to wipe the mushrooms clean, do so—otherwise, plunge them into a large basin of cold water, swirl them around vigorously with your hands, and remove them immediately to a colander, lifting them with both hands, fingers splayed. Sponge them gently dry in a towel.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound mushrooms, thickly sliced, cut into largish pieces, or, if tiny, left whole
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves garlic reduced to purée in a mortar
  • 1 handful chopped parsley
  • 1 small handful breadcrumbs (preferably finely crumbled half-dried bread, crusts removed)
  • Pepper
  • ½ lemon

Method

Heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan and toss the mushrooms, salted, over a high flame for from 5 to 10 minutes (the length of time depends on the size of the pan in relation to the quantity of mushrooms—the best results are had when the mushrooms only cover the bottom of the pan), or until their moisture has been reabsorbed and they begin to color lightly. They should be tossed every few seconds. Add the garlic purée and parsley, well mixed together, and continue tossing for a minute or two—until the mingled perfumes of the two explode—add the crumbs and toss for a few moments more, pepper generously, squeeze over a bit of lemon juice, toss again, and serve.