Several years back when I head the shocking news that Gourmet Magazine was ceasing publication effectively immediately, I panicked a little. I had years of magazines in various stacks around my apartment but I had long since relied on the online archives to find recipes quickly. I grabbed my laptop, clicked through recipe bookmarks like a madwoman and made some hasty notes in case the online resources disappeared as well. Last week I came across those messy notes, jotted haphazardly in a notebook and tried to make some sense of my illegible scribbles. One caught my eye – Roasted Mushrooms Escargot-Style. Hmmmm, this sounded promising.
Except I couldn’t read my handwriting. So I did what any sensible person would do and turned to google. I shouldn’t have worried. The online recipes hadn’t gone anywhere. In fact, it posted on the still active Gourmet site four years ago and a zillion people have beat me to the punch. But I don’t care. These are so stinking good that even if you’ve heard about them, even if you’ve made them, you need to do it again. Immediately.
I adore escargot, that classic French bistro dish of snails swimming in garlicky butter. Snails. Basically slugs, for chrissakes. The person who first ate a snail must have been hungry, indeed. I’ve thought about this a lot and unless you’re enjoying them super fresh and tender in the Burgundian countryside, there’s not much to them. Rather flavorless and slightly rubbery; they’re really just a delivery vehicle for that butter and we all know it. If you’re about to say “But I love snails!”, think about that for a moment. Do you really? Or do you love the stuff they’re swimming in, that flavorful pungently wonderful liquid in which you drag that bread end through unabashedly to wide that dish sparkling clean? Yeah, that’s what I thought. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Count yourself among the many.
I wondered why that butter is reserved for snails. Why not skip the snails and just make something else in that garlicky juice? Using mushrooms made so much sense so at my last Sunday Lunch, I threw this into the mix. One word: spectacular. Easily my new favorite way to prepare mushrooms and I’ve made it twice in the last week. A friend at that Lunch, who hates mushrooms, had three helpings. Another said I should call this “vegetarian escargot” and I think he’s onto something. It really does taste like escargot and I might even say, it’s better. I once forgot to dot the butter on top before roasting and hastily tossed it in as they came out of the oven. It’s better – there was more of that delicious liquid to chase around the plate since the mushrooms didn’t have a chance to soak it up. Be sure to grab a big hunk of bread to sop up that juice. Heaven.
STRESS THERAPY BAKING FACTOR: GO GO ESCARGOT! Here’s the thing … these are shockingly good. If you love mushrooms, make this. If you love garlic, most certainly make this. I firmly believe that excessive amounts of garlic are good for soul. I’m sure WebMD would verify this if I took the time to look. And in a pinch, I bet it could ward off vampires. So there’s that.
ESCARGOT-STYLE ROASTED MUSHROOMS – a slight adaptation of this recipe
This recipe is easily multiplied or decreased. I’ve increased it by 3 and cut it in half and it turned out great both ways. You can adjust it to your tastes – more garlic, less lemon juice, etc. but don’t leave out the capers as they add a really wonderful depth to the dish.
1 pound button mushrooms, any type
2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1.Preheat oven to 450ºF with rack in middle.
2.Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in a large shallow baking dish.
3.Roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden, 15-20 minutes.
4.Immediately stir in the butter, lemon juice and parsley.
5.Serve hot or room temperature with some crusty bread alongside.