Button mushrooms are unfairly underappreciated by most cooks. There, I said it. The great truth we are all ashamed to admit. We add them thoughtlessly to beef stew. We toss them into spinach salads. And we tuck them dutifully into omelettes. All the while dreaming of other, more exotic varieties.
Meanwhile, the button mushroom has been nothing but kind to us. It offers up loads of flavor without hogging the spotlight. It's inexpensive and holds its own in the fridge when we ignore it for a week. And while we can now buy many different kinds of mushrooms, the button remains delicious.
And so I present you with a button mushroom salad, inspired by one I had at Txikito, an excellent Basque restaurant in Chelsea. Txikito's is made with king oyster mushrooms. When I later tried to recreate this recipe, I realized that king oyster mushrooms just weren't available to most home cooks. But there sitting in my local Gristedes, waiting to help, was the button.
Button Mushroom Salad
- 12 large button mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and stems trimmed
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 garlic clove, lightly smashed
- Olive oil
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely diced tomato
- 1 1/2 tablespoons slivered almonds, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese
- Thin slices of toasted baguette, for serving