Secret recipes that are passed down from one generation to the next can be found in any family with a kitchen. Mine is no exception. My Italian grandmother had two must-have recipes: meatballs and mushrooms.
I’m going to share the mushroom recipe with you because I’m pretty sure yours will never turn out like my grandmother’s so I feel the secret is still safe. My grandmother originally gave me this recipe over the phone, and then I got a slightly different version from my mother. But, try as I might, my version did not taste how they were supposed to taste. So, I went to my grandmother’s house.
Oh, she was sure she gave me all of the ingredients and the correct recipe. “Yes, yes,” she said as she read the recipe over. Then, I watched her make them. Everything seemed exactly the same and then we got halfway through the cooking. That’s when she got out the wine: A glass for me, a glass for you, and some for the pot. Yeah, didn’t mention the drinking over the phone, Nonni. Thanks.
It still took me years (seriously years) of practice to get them almost as tasty as hers. Now I think that they are pretty close, but I can’t be sure since my grandmother isn’t around to make a comparison batch. The result is supposed to be a pretty concentrated in flavor—tangy, a bit tart, definitely aromatic. Remember: These mushrooms can stand alone as a side dish (and, they’re pretty good on crackers or in an omelet the next day).
My measurements are all approximate as now I’m an eyeballer when it comes to these things.
My Grandmother’s Mushrooms
- 2-4 T butter
- 2-4 T extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lbs mushrooms, sliced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 C white wine
- Juice of one or two lemons
- Fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
In a very large sauté pan over high heat, melt the butter and heat the olive oil. They should be swirling together happily. Add the mushrooms. Yes, you will overcrowd the pot. Heap them in and then stir them around to coat the ‘shrooms with the buttery olive oil. (I know chefs around the world will tell you this is wrong, but guess what? They don’t know how to make my grandmother’s mushrooms.)
Add the crushed garlic and stir it around. Turn the heat to low.
Now, comes the waiting. We’ve got to render almost all of the water from these mushrooms. Cover the sauté pan with a lid, but leave a little bit of an opening for steam to escape. Every 10 minutes or so come back and give them a stir. This could take a bit.
When there is very little liquid in the bottom of the pan, add salt and pepper to the mushrooms. (Don’t do it before or you won’t get the water out of the mushrooms.) Now, carefully stir in the white wine scrapping any brown bits off of the bottom. Put the lid back on and let them simmer.
Once the wine has evaporated and there is no more liquid in the pot, add in the lemon juice and stir. Cook for a few more minutes and add in the chopped parsley.
You are ready to serve.
Like I said, not as good as my grandmother’s but still a decent mushroom.