A light hand with the seasonings lets the forest-y mushroom flavor lead the way. I use this as a side dish or as a topping for grilled fish, braised meats, or meatballs. The basic roasted mushrooms without the gremolata seasoning are even more versatile.
1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms (a combination of cremini and wild or wild-cultivated)
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves—2 smashed and peeled, 2 chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat the oven to 400°F.
Brush or rinse off any bits of debris from the mushrooms and trim off any dried stems or spoiled bits. If using shiitakes, discard the stems. Cut or tear the mushrooms so they are all approximately the same size.
Pile the mushrooms into a bowl, then add a glug of olive oil and the smashed garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper and toss everything really well, massaging the oil and seasonings into the mushrooms.
Spread them in an even layer, no overlapping, on one or two baking sheets. Roast until they are browned and crisp around the edges; either flip them or otherwise scoot them around the baking sheets during roasting to promote even browning. Depending on the moisture content of your mushrooms, this should take between 10 and 25 minutes.
Toss the roasted mushrooms (and roasted garlic) with the chopped garlic, lemon zest and juice, breadcrumbs, capers, and parsley. Taste and adjust with more salt and pepper.
Make an instant stroganoff: Sear a tender steak such as rib-eye or tenderloin. Thinly slice, return to the pan with the gremolata-style roasted mushrooms, add crème fraîche and a bit of broth, and simmer to marry the flavors. Serve over gloriously buttered egg noodles.
Fill an omelet: Pile the plain roasted mushrooms, dollops of goat cheese, and fresh dill and parsley into the center of an omelet before you fold it.
Toss with pasta: Cook pasta, scoop out some pasta water, and fold the cooked pasta together with plain roasted mushrooms, minced garlic, chopped parsley, a touch of butter, and lots of grated cheese. Use the pasta water to make everything creamy. Finish with lots of cracked black pepper.
Quantity is up to you
The better the bread, the better the crumbs; I like whole grain. Cut the bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices, leaving the crust on. Cut the slices into cubes and then spread them in an even layer on a baking sheet (or more than one pan, if making a lot; a 12-ounce loaf should fit onto one pan).
Heat the oven to its lowest setting, usually about 250°F. Bake the cubes until they are fully dry, but not browned. This could take an hour or more, depending on the bread’s moisture and density.
Cool fully and then process into crumbs by pulsing in a food processor. The goal is small crumbs more or less the same size, though some bigger ones are fine—think Grape-Nuts. You want to avoid too much fine powder, however, so stop once or twice and pour off the finer crumbs or shake through a colander and then continue to crush the remaining big pieces.
Store the crumbs in an airtight container. If fully dry, they’ll stay fresh for a few weeks.
Excerpted from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2017. Photographs by Laura Dart and A.J. Meeker
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