While mushrooms are often an addition to a tossed salad, it’s unusual to have mushrooms as a salad’s star. But that didn’t stop me from creating a salad around a bagful of the cremini variety I hand picked at Whole Foods. I couldn’t resist the overflowing bin of these fresh fungi as I strolled by with my shopping cart. I didn’t have a menu plan yet, but knew that I would figure out what to do with the more than dozen extra-large brown orbs when I got home. Par for the course for my recipe creating.
Once back in my kitchen, I contemplated marinating them. But that would mean waiting a few days to eat them and I didn’t want to wait. Plus, mushrooms that size would require an awfully large vessel to hold them. It didn’t seem practical.
I wondered if I simply sliced and tossed in a good garlicky dressing with a sprinkling of truffle salt would these mushrooms make for a good summer salad as part of my summer salad series. The verdict? Oh, yeah!! Better than I had imagined while creating the recipe. A totally different kind of salad than the usual tossed crisp greens, creamy slaws and fruit forward compotes. Earthy and meaty, with a pop of vinegar and garlicky bite, this mushroom salad was almost like an entree. And truth be told, it could be a main dish, as mushrooms are a good source of protein while being low in carbohydrates and fat. The truffle salt brought it all together. I highly recommended investing in a jar.
Here are some tips for getting the best results for this salad:
- Buy mushrooms you can pick yourself verses the ones in that plastic wrapped container. Store them in a paper bag in the fridge and use within a few days.
- Brush the dirt off of the mushrooms with a mushroom brush, dry cloth or dry paper towel. If they are unusually dirty you can dampen the cloth. You never want to immerse mushrooms in water as they will absorb the liquid and become water-logged and soggy.
- Slice the mushrooms lengthwise with the stem attached, about a 1/4 inch thick, then cut in half.
- Use a mild, buttery, extra virgin olive oil so as not to overpower the earthy flavor of the cremini mushrooms.
- Toss the dressing in the salad gently, so as not to break the mushroom slices.
- Make about 30 minutes ahead of serving to let the mushrooms soak up the flavors of the dressing. Toss up again before putting in the serving bowl.
- I do recommend making just enough for one meal. I didn’t enjoy the salad as much leftover the next day. If you do have leftovers, throw them into an omelet or use them in a sauce.
Try this unusual salad if you’re a mushroom lover like me.
Next week will be another yummy summer salad using quinoa, a wonderful grain that cooks up quickly. ‘Til then, keep staying cool!
Garlicky Cremini Mushroom Salad with Truffle Salt
1 dozen large cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin, then cut in half
Garlic sherry vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
Truffle salt to taste
Make the dressing and let the flavors develop while you clean and slice the mushrooms and clean and chop the fresh parsley.
In a large mixing bowl, gently toss the mushrooms with dressing to taste.
Add the parsley and gently toss again.
Put in a serving bowl and top with truffle salt to taste.
Serve extra truffle salt on the side
Garlic Sherry Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 -1/2 cup buttery extra virgin olive oil
Fresh cracked black pepper
In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the salt in the vinegar. Whisk in the mustard and the garlic. Slowly whisk in 1/3 cup olive oil. Taste for seasoning. Add more oil if too vinegary for your taste. Add cracked pepper to taste.