Monday, November 29, 2004

Marinated Mushrooms

Now then, on to the important part of our discussion -- the food!

I like this simple little method for preparing a tasty appetizer or side salad. Mushrooms, being the little flavor sponges that they are, become a wonderful vehicle through which to showcase the special character of a favorite olive oil. This marinade will change flavor, subtly, with the use of different olive oils. Spicy, fruity, nutty, rich -- all lend themselves well to this easy dish.


4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon tomato catsup
3 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed thyme)
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt & pepper, to taste

Combine the above ingredients and pour over 1 pound of sliced, white mushrooms. Marinate for several hours, or as long as 24 hours, before serving to allow the flavors to blend and develop.

Serves 4 to 6.

I recently prepared this recipe with olive oil that I brought back with me from Andalucia, Spain. During that visit, I enjoyed several opportunities to taste local olive oils and visited a cooperative mill at which the olives from local growers are crushed for oil.

As is confirmed in so many blind taste tests by culinary organizations, the most-expensive oils are not necessarily the ones that hold the most appeal for individual tasters. The tour guide for the cooperative mill visit suggested that, for a good all-around olive oil to take home with us, similar to the ones that we had tasted, we simply do what the local home cooks do: go to the supermarket and look for extra virgin oils whose labels included the "producto de cooperativa" logo (a red, round logo with a tree design in the middle).

I followed the tour guide's advice and couldn't be happier with the product. It is golden in color and smoothly fruity in flavor. Unfortunately, the bottle is already half empty so my sleuthing for similar oils, available in the U.S., is in progress. Several "finds" have already appeared. But, we'll talk about that another day! For now, I will enjoy memories of Andalucia's hillsides of olive trees as I enjoy some more tasty, marinated mushrooms.


Anonymous said...

Delicious recipe. I used a spicy oil and it was a great combo with the ketchup.

Anonymous said...

This brought back such nice memories of my own trip to the south of Spain. I bought olive oil too -- wish I'd bought MORE.