If you’re looking for classic sautéed mushrooms, Julia Child’s no-nonsense method will coax you through all this—hot butter, dry mushrooms, and an uncrowded pan are the keys.
But say you want to cook a lot of mushrooms at once, really outrun the shrinkage. Or be less active in your cooking, and less hot. Alex Raij, chef-owner at Txkito, has a more scalable, meditative approach, with an equally compelling result. Using this much at once will probably make you squirm, but you’re not wasting it. This mushroom- and garlic-scented oil is as much a reason for making the recipe as the mushrooms themselves are. The oil will be a head start on more adventures—frying eggs or more mushrooms, searing greens or chicken thighs, mixing new dressings and sauces. Adapted slightly from The Basque Book (Ten Speed Press, 2016). —Genius Recipes
4 to 6
mushrooms (any kind, even button mushrooms, or wild, such as porcini, hedgehog, chanterelle, milk cap, or St. George’s), trimmed
Place the mushrooms in a saucepan, add oil to cover (note: the mushrooms may float, but that’s okay), and season with salt. Smash 1 garlic clove with the back of a knife and toss it into the oil. Gently heat the oil over medium-low heat until the liquid appears to be simmering. What you are seeing is the water the mushrooms release as they become saturated with oil. Turn down the heat to low (you want the mushrooms to gently percolate in the oil, not fry) and cook the mushrooms for about 20 minutes or more, depending on size, until they are creamy, silken, flavorful, and have absorbed the salt. Remove from the heat and let cool. As they cool, their juices will naturally separate from the oil; pour off the oil, reserving it and the juices separately. Remove and discard the garlic, then add the mushrooms back into their oil until ready to use them. Save the mushroom juices for another use.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub both sides of each bread slice with one garlic clove, place the slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and toast in the oven for about 6 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
While the bread toasts, line a plate with paper towels. Thinly slice the remaining 4 garlic cloves. In a small saucepan, combine the garlic slices and 1/2 cup of the mushroom oil over medium heat and cook for about 35 seconds, stirring, until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic slices to the towel-lined plate to drain.
To serve, gently reheat the mushrooms in their oil. Reheat the mushroom juices. Drain the warm mushrooms, slice them to bite size, transfer them to a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Place each slice of toast in an individual bowl and divide the mushrooms among the bowls, spooning them over the bread. Pour in some of the warm mushroom juices and garnish each serving with a drizzle of the garlic-infused oil, a few of the garlic chips, and a sprinkle of parsley.
Kept under oil, this confit can be stored for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.