I'm a fan of brevity. So I had to fix this spectacular recipe with a horrible name. I opted for "Warm Mushroom Salad" instead of the actual name of the dish: "Warm Mushroom Salad with Bacon, Sourdough Croutons and Pickled-Mushroom Vinaigrette". While the latter certainly does more to fire up your tastebuds...I still like brevity.
I also like mushrooms. They are a great alternative to meat. I find them every bit as filling as meat. They are high in protein, fiber, vitamins and have zero cholesterol. Their taste characteristics are as variable as beef, chicken and pork. From portobellos to shiitake to white button mushrooms...each mushroom varietal has it's own, unique flavor.
When you buy mushrooms, always buy organic as mushrooms will contain everything present in their environment. If there are toxins in the soil, there will be toxins in your mushrooms...so organic should always be your first choice.
You might also consider growing your own...you will be astounded by the taste of a freshly picked mushroom. Just do an Amazon.com search for "grow your own mushroom kit" and you will find a huge selection of kits. This is a Rachel Wharton recipe and it makes two entree salads or four side salads.
For the Pickled Mushrooms
1/4 pound trumpet or oyster mushrooms, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
One, 4-inch sprig rosemary
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
For the Salad
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 heaping cup bite-size sourdough bread pieces, torn by hand
2 cups mixed mushrooms (about 3/4 pound total), such as trumpet, oyster, shiitake, etc.
4 packed cups mixed baby greens (1/2-pound total)
Sliced radishes and fennel fonds, for garnish
- Make pickled mushrooms: Place mushrooms in a small heatproof bowl. Place remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring once or twice, until sugar and salt dissolve. Strain hot pickling liquid over mushrooms. Reserve 1 tablespoon pickling liquid for vinaigrette and discard peppercorns, rosemary and garlic. Cover mushrooms with plastic wrap.
- Make vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon mushroom pickling liquid, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste until emulsified. Set aside.
- Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon until crisp and most of fat has rendered out. Add sourdough pieces to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally and adding a little olive oil if pan seems dry, until bread begins to get crisp and golden, 7-10 minutes. Transfer bread and bacon to a bowl.
- Increase heat to medium-high. Cook mushrooms in skillet, stirring frequently, until slightly browned, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and turn off heat.
- Compose salad: Drain pickled mushrooms. In a large bowl, combine greens, warm mushrooms, drained pickled mushrooms, croutons and bacon. Drizzle vinaigrette to taste, tossing to coat. Adjust seasoning as needed. Garnish with radishes and fennel fronds, if using. Serve while mushrooms are still warm.
Wine pairing: Pinot Noir