Warm mushroom salads were all the rage when I was a young adult back in the early ’80s. No restaurant with any pretensions to style would have neglected to have one on the menu. Inevitably their popularity waned, but they were often very good salads and are worthy of a come-back. I think they are coming back, and hopefully this time they won’t become so ubiquitous as to wear out their welcome.
I used a mixture of button and oyster mushrooms; a few shiitake would have been good, or use whatever you can find – part of the pleasure is the subtle differences in flavour and texture of the mushrooms. At this time of year it was hydroponic lettuce and pea shoots, but later in the spring there should be arugula and spinach; both of which go really well with mushrooms.
2 to 6 servings
1 hour prep time
Make the Dressing:
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon walnut oil
Peel and mince the garlic. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl or jam jar.
Make the Salad:
1 large head Belgian endive
3 cups chopped greenhouse lettuce
2 cup chopped pea shoots, micro greens, or other sprouts,
spinach or arugula in season
Wash, trim, and chop the endive. Wash, trim, and chop the lettuce. Wash and chop any other greens to be added to the salad. Toss them all together in a salad bowl, or distribute them amongst individual serving dishes.
Cook the Mushrooms:
400 grams (scant pound) mixed mushrooms
3 or 4 shallots
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon rosemary leaves, ground
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sherry
Clean and chop the mushrooms roughly. Use a mix of mushrooms; oyster, button, and shiitake are the easiest to get and make a fine combination.
Peel and slice the shallots thinly. Peel and mince the garlic.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the shallots until just softened. Add the mushrooms and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms are softened and browned, and cooked to your liking. Add the rosemary, salt, pepper, mustard, and garlic, and cook for just a minute longer, stirring constantly. Add the sherry and stir them up once.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the mushrooms cool for just a couple of minutes, then spread them out over the salad (or salads). Drizzle with the salad dressing and serve at once.