Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mushroom - Arugula Salad

REVISION to 16 MARCH 2011: The second time I made this I used a flour dusting on the mushrooms and this made the mushrooms crispier and improved the salad.  On my third attempt I used a flour dusting but with baby bella/crimini mushrooms.  These mushrooms were not as crisp as the shiitake, most likely due to the higher water content.  Lessons learned are incorporated in the recipe that follows. Note: second photo down shows "first attempt salad" (mushrooms not dusted in flour); lower photos show salad with mushrooms dusted in flour.

The recipe for this salad evolved from "Funghi Fritto - Arugula, white truffle essence" that we had at  240 Union in Denver and "Crisp gnocchi salad - roasted wild mushrooms and butternut squash - truffled oregano vin" that we had at Six89  in Carbondale and later at The Pullman in Glenwood Springs.  Six89 and Phat Thai in Carbondale and The Pullman, which opened in January, are all under the same ownership and feature locally grown meats, poultry and produce.

Back to the salad.  The key ingredients here are cooked mushrooms and white truffle oil.  At 240 Union the mushrooms dominated. The salad was mostly fried mushrooms served on a small bed of arugula.  The waiter told us that the mushrooms were fried in a very light (almost imperceptible to us, probably just flour) batter then tossed while hot with grated Parmesan cheese and white truffle oil.  At Six89 the salad was tossed, not layered, and consisted of mixed baby greens (weeds), thinly sliced mushrooms and small pieces (about 1/8 - 1/4 inches square) of winter squash which had been roasted (in olive oil?) and goat cheese gnocchi about 1/4 the size of regular gnocchi that did not seem all that crisp to me either time I had it.  Working with these basic ideas, this is my recipe:



Serves 2-3

Thinly slice

~8-12 shiitake mushrooms (For 240 Union version, use more mushrooms and less arugula.)

Then place in a small paper bag (or small container with cover) along with


1-2 T flour to coat mushrooms on both sides


Shake contents of the bag gently several times over a period of 1/2 - 1 hour. Remove mushrooms from bag leaving any excess flour.  Cook about one third at a time (point of small batches is to keep water ratio low, a larger pan with more oil could accommodate a larger batch) in a small pan containing about 1/2 - 1 inch (less than 1/4 full) of

hot olive oil  (olive oil can be strained and reused).

When mushrooms are golden, remove, drain excess oil, then place on:


3 ounces of baby arugula


Sprinkle immediately with:

Parmesan cheese.

Toss with:

1 scant teaspoon white truffle oil.

Serve immediately.


May 2014 SIMPLE VARIATION:  Ed and I went to Cambridge 1 before a play and had an arugula salad  dressed with just olive oil, lemon juice and garnished with grated Parmesan. This "light Caesar" is very easy to make and is rapidly becoming one of our favorite salads.


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