Marinated Mushrooms with Saba

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

This terrific innovative recipe, from San Francisco chef Mark Gordon, employs the delicious saba now readily available at fine food stores to finish off a dish of marinated mushrooms.

What makes saba from Emilia-Romagna the syrup of choice for this recipe is that it's blended with aged balsamic vinegar, then stored in barrels to age.

There are many things you can do with these delicious mushrooms besides serving them with drinks. Sometimes I combine them in a salad with thinly sliced fennel and red onion; toss them with spinach and slivers of Parmigiano-Reggiano; mix them with roasted chestnuts and small tender greens; or serve them over grilled polenta. They must marinate overnight, however—that's the slow part—so do plan accordingly.


  • ¾ cup plus 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup inexpensive mild balsamic vinegar or Greek glyko vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary
  • 1 small bunch of thyme sprigs
  • tablespoons wildflower honey
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • pounds small brown (cremini) mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons saba balsamic (see Mail Order Sources), or more to taste


  1. In a large nonreactive saucepan, combine ¾ cup of the olive oil, the vinegar, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, honey, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the mushrooms and return the liquid to a boil. Cover with crumpled parchment paper and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook gently for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the size of the mushrooms. Remove from the heat and let stand for 1 hour at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. The following day, drain the mushrooms. Toss them with the saba and the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil. Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with toothpicks.