This recipe rewards patience and attention to detail. If you are willing to put in the extra effort by picking fresh thyme and slowly caramelizing shallots, you will be rewarded with tantalizingly flavorful mushrooms. The other key to this dish is cooking the mushrooms in batches using an extremely hot pan. If you overcrowd the pan with mushrooms or don’t get your pan hot enough, your mushrooms will taste steamed instead of seared. You know you're doing it correctly when you find yourself running to temporarily take the batteries out of your smoke alarm. Seriously. —Josh Cohen
1 hour 20 minutes
of your favorite varieties of mushrooms (I prefer some combination of crimini, royal trumpet, maitake, and oyster mushrooms)
Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough olive oil to thinly coat the surface of the skillet. Add the shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring regularly, until the shallots soften and begin to turn translucent. Turn the heat down to low, and continue stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft, sweet, and caramelized. This may take 30 to 45 minutes.
If your mushrooms are gritty or dirty, use a damp rag or paper towel to gently wipe them clean. Cut the mushrooms into large bite-size pieces. Some mushroom varieties can be torn with your hands rather than cut with a knife. For example, I like to break maitake mushrooms into large chunks and tear oyster mushrooms into slivers. These hand-torn pieces should approximate the original shape of the mushroom.
While the shallots are cooking, set a large skillet over high heat. Add enough grapeseed oil to thinly coat the surface of the skillet. When the oil begins to smoke, add enough mushrooms to fill the skillet in a single even layer. Let the mushrooms sear, undisturbed, until the bottoms of the mushrooms begin to caramelize. Toss the mushrooms in the skillet and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and beginning to crisp around the edges. Transfer the hot mushrooms to a mixing bowl, and using a fine microplane, grate half a clove of garlic over the mushrooms. Toss the mushrooms with the microplaned garlic, and season with salt. Repeat this step with subsequent batches of mushrooms until all the mushrooms have been cooked.
Combine the mushrooms with the caramelized shallots. Add the thyme, cayenne, and vinegar. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. This dish can be served hot or at room temperature. To reheat the mushrooms, transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook at in the oven at 350° F for approximately 5 minutes.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, I’m perpetually inspired by the diversity of foods that exist in this city. I love shopping at the farmer’s market, making ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and rolling fresh pasta. I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy, where I spent the first 6 months of my career as a chef. I've been cooking professionally in New York City since 2010.