I love love mushrooms. I am a mushroom lover in the family. Kid are not big fans. Sadly, albeit my numerous experiments and attempts to fancy up kid-friendly mushroom dishes a.k.a disguise mushrooms to the point that that kids wouldn’t notice, my efforts have not paid off so far - kids still frown upon anything mushroom. Things are a bit different with M though. He wasn’t a big fan either. Until I converted him. With the help of sautéed mushrooms. But make no mistake - this is not your usual kind of sautéed mushrooms.This recipe, my friends, will convert even a hard-core mushroom hater as it is absolutely beyond delicious and unusual. In fact, so far this is the best recipe for sautéed mushrooms I have ever tried! It comes from one of my favorite chefs, Michael Chiarello.
So what is so unusual about this recipe? First, it is that when mushrooms are tossed into the heated pan with oil, they do not release their juice and to not become soggy as I’ve seen in many recipes. Trick? You layer the mushrooms in a single layer in the pan and do not stir until one side is caramelized! In this case, the juices are trapped inside and the mushrooms do not steam. You can go ahead and toss them once the caramelization is complete - no worries, no juice or minimal juice will be released.
Then you toss the mushrooms with garlic, thyme, lemon juice, wine and parsley, oh my! The delectable flavors will blend and the inviting aroma will ooze. A hard-core mushroom hater, if you have one in the family (maybe not kids yet) will run into the kitchen saying, “Something smells good!” Bingo. He/she is officially a mushroom lover. Enjoy!
Photo by Steve Hollier: Absheron National Park.
A couple of months ago I received an email from Steve Hollier, new editor of AZ Magazine in Baku. He was asking if I would like to run my own food column in the magazine. I who always thinks I can handle more than I really can, didn’t think much before saying Yes. So, our collaboration began. We exchanged ideas via emails and we became friends. We looked forward to the first for both of us - Steve for the first issue under his editorial direction, I for the first official AZ Cookbook column.
Steve came across as a nice, honest, and polite person. He knew I was busy with a zillion other things, so to make my life easier, he suggested we only use recipes and picture from the blog in the beginning, polishing them as needed. About a week ago, the magazine was published. Steve emailed me with the news and I emailed him back thanking him. Then we exchanged more emails discussing the recipe for my next column. In his last email to me he was asking if it was ok to edit the chicken recipe we agreed on a bit. I wrote him back a few days later early in the morning, before my work hours, apologizing for my delay and saying I will email him with more details after my work hours. I was expecting his reply in the evening.
But it didn’t go as I expected. I received a message from a friend who said Steve was no more…Steve died from a heart attack around the time I emailed him my last message. This came as a shock and I am still deeply saddened. I have never met Steve in real life but I had a feeling he was a wonderful person and looked forward to meeting him on my next trip to Baku. Steve made Baku his new home and he will be laid to rest in the city, where, as his wife Sandra wrote in her email to me, “he had so much fun…”
I promised Steve I would post the link to the first AZ Cookbook column on my facebook page and I did. Here it is in case you missed it. Steve, thank you for the opportunity…
I would like to invite you to visit Steve’s wonderful blog about Azerbaijan, the land of fire as it is known and as he called it there. You will enjoy tons of interesting articles about Steve’s travels, encounters and more, most accompanied with captivating photographs from the country he loved dearly…