Meatless Monday Recipe: Mushrooms

Have you heard about the “Meatless Monday” movement? The idea is that by eating vegetarian foods for at least one day of the week you can enjoy a wide variety of health benefits while also doing some good for the planet. Among the earthly benefits listed on the “Meatless” website are: shrinking your carbon footprint, cutting down on water usage, and helping to reduce dependence on foreign oil. Reported health benefits range from reducing heart disease and avoiding obesity to limiting cancer risk and fighting diabetes. In celebration of Audubon’s special food issue (March/April 2011), which is hitting mailboxes and newsstands this week, we would like to bring you some of our favorite recipes. Here on The Perch every Monday, I’ll be posting a vegetarian recipe that might make it a little easier to start the week out “meatless.”

Here is a recipe I discovered this week while picking up a pound of delicious shitake and oyster mushrooms from my local indoor winter farmers' market. The mushroom grower said one of his customers told him it was so delicious she wanted to share it with him and anyone else who loves mushrooms.

Source: This recipe was recently featured in the New York Times

Roasted Mushrooms With Garlic
(Adapted from Josh Blakely, Macao Trading Company, Manhattan)

Time: 45 minutes

4 cups mushrooms (best to get a mix of varieties), cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
12 garlic cloves, 8 whole and 4 finely grated on a Microplane or cheese grater
5 sprigs thyme
Salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or cider vinegar
1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
2 tablespoons chopped roasted and salted cashews, or Marcona almonds, or peanuts
Grilled bread, for serving (optional).

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow roasting pan, mix together mushrooms, 1/3 cup of the olive oil, whole garlic cloves and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden brown and just starting to crisp, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and discard thyme and garlic. Arrange the mushrooms in a shallow bowl, 6 to 8 inches in diameter.

2. In a small sauté pan, heat the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil until shimmering. Add grated garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until golden brown, and immediately add vinegar, tomato, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and a pinch of salt. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the mushrooms.

3. Garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, pimentón, and chopped cashews. Serve immediately, while bubbly and hot. If desired, serve with grilled crusty bread.

Yield: 2 appetizer servings or 2 side servings.

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