I recently posted my paean to the glories of garlic paste, which I’d just discovered for myself after nearly a lifetime of loving the bulb in its more intact forms https://wordpress.com/post/theviewfromharbal.com/1148. I included a recipe for grilled marinated mushrooms which I’ve used for years and found the results superior to whatever I’d achieved with plain old chopped garlic. Since then, I’ve found out some more about paste, and about the ‘shrooms recipe. First, about the paste. To make it the first few times, I used my old Waring blender, which produced a fine paste but required a lot of attention: much push, push, push with a spatula, and you know what a blender can do to a rubber spatula. Fortunately, that didn’t affect the flavor much, as spatula rubber adds little taste to any dish. But it was like those little cloves didn’t want to go down, like the kid scared to jump in the pool! So for the last couple of batches I used Kathy’s Cuisinart. Much better. Way faster, and you can do two pounds at a time! The volume of the paste thus made with two pounds is a little less than a quarter cup of what you can get back in the jar the pound of garlic came in. But if you’ve got a recipe going same day, like I did, you can just go ahead and use it. Then there’s the recipe itself. We like to grill up those ‘shrooms as often as we think of it, year round. If you end up matching our pace, which I bet you will once you bite into one of those ‘shrooms, you’ll need to go to Gordon’s and get the big 5 gallon jugs of soy sauce and red wine vinegar to keep up. As I mentioned in the previous post, the recipe is easy peasy and requires nothing more exotic than a 2 qt jar, nothing au courant from our 60 plus year old kitchen. Here it is again:
Note one little change. Wondering if this increasing surface area relative to particle volume deal would kick up the flavor from the chilis like it did for the garlic – can’t you see Emeril saying “Bam!”? – I buzzed the half cup of chilis in my spice grinder (a regular blender will do if you don’t have one), got less than a quarter cup of fine particles and threw that in. And sho’ ‘nuff, a little richer and hotter both, but in a nice way. The buzz and paste don’t stay in suspension as well as the whole chilis and larger chunks of garlic, tending to settle on the bottom of the jar. So you need to shake it a little every so often. I almost decided to throw a half cup of chili buzz in. Kathy restrained me when we realized that would equal twice as much chili as I usually use. I think I’ll try it next time. Kathy bought a monster 5 pound bag of chilis at our Chinese grocery a few years ago, and it still sits a third full in our downstairs kitchen. And marinating time makes a difference. I always like the ’shrooms to bathe at least two hours, and often would set ‘em up in the morning for dinner. They do get mushy after a while, and now I think morning to dinner time may be too long. Our last batch sat about 4 hours, was well-flavored, and the ‘shrooms were nicely al dente.
So there it is. Give it a go. You’ll be glad you did. For those of you (not us) wary of grilling in cold weather, spring is coming and it’ll be time to fire up!