Sautéed Hen of the Woods Mushrooms

Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms are meaty, rich and earthy. They are fantastic as a side dish or as the star of a dinner because of their great texture. The goal of these are to get a crust on the outside and to keep the meat nice and juicy on the inside. The restaurant CRAFT, both in New York and in Los Angeles, does an amazing job with mushrooms–this dish is inspired by Tom Colicchio and his staff’s work with all sorts of different mushrooms. This recipe is quick and easy and great for the winter months.

 IMG_4516If I am not going to use my mushrooms promptly after buying them, this is how I store them. I do not wash them or anything–rather, place the mushrooms in a glass or tupperware container. Then cover with one damp paper towel. Cover the container with plastic wrap and poke approximately 10 holes in the wrapping with a toothpick to allow the mushrooms to breathe. They will last for up to a week like this and keep their good form. IMG_4522Never wash your mushrooms! You will lose so much of their flavor. Instead, wipe with a damp cloth to clean them.IMG_4532Remove the hard cores of the mushrooms. Then break the mushrooms into small pieces with your hands. You just need a splash of red wine to add some flavor.IMG_4579You want a nice char on the exterior of your mushrooms.IMG_4559Finish with a squeeze of lemon and enjoy. This is “healthy” comfort food.

INGREDIENTS
– 1 Lbs. Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms
– 1 Bunch Fresh Thyme
– 1 Bunch Fresh Oregano
– 2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
– 3 Tbsp. Red Wine
– 1 lemon (for juice)
– Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper

DIRECTIONS

1) Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel. If your mushrooms are fresh and of good quality there should not be too much to wipe down. Don’t worry, they are going to cook in a piping hot pan so you do not need to get every single little thing. These are mushrooms!

2) Remove the small stem at the bottom of each mushroom with a paring knife. You only need to get rid of the small hard core.

3) Once all the cores are removed, break the mushrooms up with your fingers. The mushrooms should break apart easily–you want approximately bite sized pieces but this does not need to be perfect. You will get about 6  pieces per mushroom–think broccoli florets.

4) Place the mushroom pieces in a large mixing bowl.  Removes leaves from thyme and oregano and roughly chop. Add chopped thyme and oregano to mushrooms. Then add a splash of red wine. Add a dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Mix all ingredients.

5) Add butter to a cast iron skillet or similar pan. Turn heat to medium-high. Cook till butter has completely melted. Then add mushrooms.

6) Cook mushrooms for approximately 10 minutes stirring every so often. Do not stir constantly–you need to let the mushrooms rest sometimes so that they can get crisp on the outside.

7) Remove from the hot pan. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over them. Add some fresh ground black pepper and serve.

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