If you enjoy mushrooms, this is going to be a very exciting recipe for you. It truly accentuates the essence of the mushroom itself. It also builds some incredible flavor. The trick is, just like any other recipe, to acquire the correct ingredients as well as to follow the instructions. And for this recipe specifically, you’ll want to keep a keen eye on your heat. Too much and you’ll lose the majority of flavor to the bottom of your skillet.
This is the second recipe I’ll be covering on this website. The first was Gordon Ramsay’s Crispy Salmon, which came out very nicely, if I don’t say so myself. I just finished this one up and it was remarkably tasty. I did have an issue with slight sticking, but I’ll discuss the remedy to that below. I learned this recipe through my online cooking school and after I finished it up, I realized that I made one slight error. I’ll be covering that below as well. My instructions should be perfect for you.
2 Tablespoons Peanut Oil
24 Ounces of White Button Mushrooms
1 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
1 Tablespoon Grated Fresh Ginger
2 Tablespoons Mirin (Japanese Rice Wine) (I Used Sake)
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
As usual, I have a few questions and as usual, I looked around and found the answers. When attempting a recipe such as this, you may have similar questions, so that’s why I’m including these here.
1. Is the “White Button Mushroom” the same thing as a regular white cooking mushroom? My grocery store doesn’t seem to specialize in too much. Can I substitute?
We’re in luck because it seems as though the White Button Mushroom is the same thing as the White Mushroom, the Common Mushroom and many other types of mushrooms. You can read all about them here.
2. What in the world is Mirin and if my grocer doesn’t have any, can I substitute anything else for it?
Mirin is Japanese Rice Wine and it adds acidity to ingredients when cooking. If you don’t have any or can’t get any (like me), you can certainly substitute it with a few other ingredients. For instance, you can use dry sherry, sweet marsala, dry white wine or rice vinegar. You may need to add a pinch or two of sugar to sweeten these substitutions up though.
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As I was looking through the grocery store aisles, I wasn’t able to locate this particular ingredient. I also didn’t yet know of the substitutions, so I picked up some Sake cooking wine and read the label. The first ingredient was rice wine, so I bought it. I can say that the dish was very good, so I’d call that a victory. To read more about Mirin, you can take a look at this resource. Although, as time goes on, I’m going to begin stocking my pantry with difficult to find ingredients, because as this website claims, all these wines are indeed quite different and perform different functions.
In this section, I’m going to guide you through this recipe step by step. I’d like to thank “America’s Test Kitchen” for what I’ve accomplished below. It was fairly straightforward, but I learned quite a bit from preparing it.
Quarter the Mushrooms
The mushrooms I purchased were fairly large, so I quartered them. As my instructions stated, if I had acquired a smaller variety, I would have halved them. The trick here is to maintain as consistent a size as possible to ensure even sauteing. Here’s a photo of a few of mine:
I cleaned these mushrooms the traditional way – by dry wiping them of any artifacts. Unbeknownst to me, there is a better way. You can read all about that here:
The safest method of cutting through a mushroom is to lay it so it’s stem up and to slice, using your chef’s knife, from stem to top. This will minimize any rolling around. Once you’ve got a flat edge, place that side down so you have even more stability.
Grate the Ginger
It’s always a good idea to have all your ingredients prepped and ready for use, so at this point, I grated the ginger. Here’s a photo of the fresh ginger I purchased after I peeled one piece of it.
And here’s a photo of some of the grated ginger. I used a box grater to do this. After I was finished, I realized that I should’ve left some peel on so I had something to hold. I’m not really comfortable with my fingers being so close to those blades.
Slice the Scallions
Since prepping was on my mind, I turned to the scallions. Now, I know the recipe calls for two scallions, but since I really love them, I threw in a few more. Feel free to do this. They merely dress the final dish, so if you like the taste, go for it. You won’t mess up any flavor combination. And to make things fancy, cut these thin on the bias.
Toast the Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds add a tremendous flavor to any dish, if they’re toasted correctly. The trick here is to keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. The recipe I used says to keep them over medium heat for five minutes, but since my stove apparently runs hot, I didn’t need all that time. Just a few minutes was fine.
Once your seeds are toasted, it’s important to remove them from the heat. Actually, I’d suggest that you remove them a bit earlier than you think you should because they’ll continue toasting in the hot pan. It’s also very important to keep the seeds moving as they’re being toasted. If they sit in one spot too long, they’ll likely burn.
Warm the Skillet & Add Oil
Now we’re getting to the good part. Since all the prep work is finished, we can begin cooking. To get the ball rolling, I turned my stove on to medium-high heat and added one tablespoon of peanut oil.
I waited for the oil to shimmer and then I moved onto the next step.
Add the Mushrooms
Since the pan was hot, I added all of my mushrooms.
This is where things get a little weird. For the first few minutes, the mushrooms look like they are going to simply sit there and burn. They immediately soak up all the oil and appear extremely dry. I actually covered the pan for a few seconds to get them to sweat.
One they began to sweat, I stirred and they started to rock and roll. I waited about five minutes and realized that they were releasing more liquid. At that point, I turned my heat to high and continued to stir.
I continued to stir and under this increased heat, the mushrooms really let their moisture out. Once all that moisture had evaporated, I was left with somewhat browned mushrooms.
Add the Remaining One Tablespoon of Peanut Oil
This is a very important step. Since the mushrooms are now fairly dry, it’s important to lower the heat to medium. What you add from here on out is very delicate and can stick and burn. I felt I should tell you that. For right now though, simply add the remaining one tablespoon of peanut oil and continue stirring for about eight more minutes until the mushrooms are dark brown.
Add Sesame Seeds & Ginger
The reason I mentioned that the pan should be somewhat cooled is because the sesame seeds and the ginger need to be added. These two ingredients love to stick to hot pans. So, at this point, I added both of these and continued to stir for about 30 seconds.
I have to admit, at this point, I was quite impressed at how delicious things were looking.
Add Mirin & Soy Sauce
At this point, I had some wonderfully smelling ginger and sesame mushrooms. I added the two tablespoons of Mirin (I substituted with Sake) and the two tablespoons of soy sauce. I continued to stir until that liquid had evaporated. It was under a minute.
Add Sesame Oil
I then removed the pan from heat and added the one teaspoon of sesame oil. This is very tasty and powerful, so be sure to add the correct amount. I also transferred what I had created into a smaller pan to take a few photos of it.
This is the last step. I transferred the mushrooms to two dishes and covered them with the scallions I had sliced earlier. I was surprised at what I had in front of me.
The Final Dish
Well, here it is. A more up-close look at all the ingredients. I highly recommend trying this simple recipe because it smells great and has a distinctive taste. It’s not something you eat everyday.
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