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. —Amanda Hesser
large button mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and stems trimmed
Arrange the mushrooms stem-side-down in a single layer in a saucepan. They should fit snugly. Use more than one pan if needed. Tuck the thyme and garlic between the mushrooms. Season with salt. Add enough olive oil to barely cover the mushrooms. Set the pan over medium heat and cook until bubbles rise to the surface, then reduce the heat to low and poach, uncovered, until tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms to a cutting board. Let them cool. Reserve the oil. If there’s mushroom liquid at the bottom of the pan, pour the oil into a container and save the mushroom liquid to dress the mushrooms.
Very thinly slice the mushrooms (think carpaccio). On each of 4 salad plates, arrange the slices in overlapping rows to form a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Squeeze the lemon over the mushrooms, making sure to hit all of them – be generous! Season with salt if needed. Sprinkle the mushrooms with tomato and almonds. Dress with the mushroom liquid if there is any, or your best olive oil. Sprinkle with the cheese.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.