1 1/2 pounds button mushrooms
1-2 cups balsamic vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Clean the mushrooms. Do this by wiping them down with a clean towel or using paper towels. If you must, lightly rinse then with cold water and dry on towelling.
Prepare the mushrooms for cooking. Decide on what you will do with them and cut accordingly. If you are using these as an appetizer, and they are smaller buttons, you can leave them whole. If they are larger, cut in halves or quarters — something that will sit on the end of a toothpick and fit in the mouth in a single bite. If you are using as a garnish or for a salad, slice them. Not too thin or they will disappear!
In a medium chef’s pan (one of those rounded pans that look like a miniature wok) or medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring 1 ½ cups of the dressing to a boil, then add the mushrooms. Toss and stir gently so as not to break them, and coat all the mushrooms with the sauce. Turn down the heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. The mushrooms should wilt down enough so they are all covered with dressing. If this is not happening, add the rest of the dressing.
Taste a mushroom. Is it getting tender? Is it still raw in the center? If still quite raw in the center, cook longer (2-3 minutes) until just done. As soon as the mushrooms are no longer raw, remove from the heat and transfer the lot with the sauce to a non-reactive bowl to cool.
Once fairly cool, transfer to the refrigerator and keep until needed. They will keep for 2-3 days. The larger the mushroom piece the longer it will maintain structural and flavor integrity. If not serving immediately, separate the mushrooms from the marinade and store. Add a bit more dressing just before serving.
May be used cold, room temperature, or even heated as a garnish or topping in a pinch.
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 small garlic clove, peeled and de-germed
1 small shallot, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon rosemary
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 cup neutral flavored oil such as grapeseed, olive, or canola
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a blender, combine the vinegar, garlic and shallot, herbs and spices, and puree.
With the top on and motor running, remove the center plug and begin to drizzle in the oils in a steady stream. The dressing will emulsify (thicken) until it looks almost like a light brown mayonnaise. Do not add more oil than specified – a dressing made in this fashion can continue to absorb an appalling amount of oil until it becomes almost solid. Once it is this thick, it cannot be broken down and becomes a spread. I know this to be true as I saw it happen in culinary school with a 5 gallon batch of dressing.
Once made, it will store unrefrigerated for a week. (Without the fresh garlic and onions it would be weeks — you could substitute garlic powder and skip the shallots if you wish.) In the refrigerator, it will keep as long as store bought dressing. If any separation occurs, just give the jar a vigorous shaking.