SMAM 1/2: Mushroom Love

January 15, 2011

I’m posting so rarely that I fear a round of Shrink-My-Ass-Month recipes would be a great disappointment to you. Such a disappointment, in fact, that I’m not going to even offer it up. Sorry, readers, but you’ll have to settle for the booby prize.  Tangent: someone please tell me who came up with that phrase and why/how?

Dang, I get sidetracked easily.

Anyhow, all I’ve got for you is half-assed Shrink-my-Ass-Month–SMAM 1/2, if you will. In return for your tolerance, I’ll give you desultory and erratically-timed recipes until the end of February. How’s that for a deal?

I’m learning new lessons in 2011.  Main lesson: if you set the bar low enough, gentle readers will greet even the most pathetic of efforts with a wave and a smile.

So smile and wave!  Here’s the recipe for our maiden voyage into SMAM 1/2.

Mushroom Salad with Lemon, Thyme and Parmesan.

Now, now, don’t get cranky on me. I know all about mushrooms and texture issues. I do. I spent many fruitful years in the land of Mushroom Hatred. But the land of Mushroom Hatred really exists for those wet, salty, canned monstrosities and the pithy, eraser-textured mushrooms that linger in the produce aisle far longer than they should.

We are talking plump, pearly white, fresher-than-fresh mushrooms. Those mushrooms, when you try them, bathed lovingly in herbs, lemon and fruity olive oil, will be a revelation. No grimy feel in the mouth, no musty, funk-a-riffic taste.

I guess my point is this: seek out a market that carries unblemished, fat, Holy Grail mushrooms. Clean them with with a damp towel, slice them paper-thin, toss them in this sexy little dressing, add some generous shards of salty cheese, and you’ll see the humble mushroom in a completely different way.

Take it from a fellow hater. This salad is delightful. I loved the clean, bright taste of lemon and parsley, the woodsy lick of thyme, and the rich sharpness of Parmesan. It’s a great side dish but I actually couldn’t stop eating it; I added a warm hunk of baguette and called it lunch.  If you aren’t wallowing in the pool of Pellegrino with lime, a cold glass of Pinot Grigio would be quite nice alongside.

I know the thought of raw shroomage might be scary, but if you’re feeling brave, try this next to a juicy roast chicken or a nice steak.  And it’s so light, it’s like eating slices of air.

Mushroom Salad with Lemon, Thyme and Parmigiano

slightly adapted from Fine Cooking

serves 6 as a side dish

1 large lemon

2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1 small)

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used 1/4 cup and it still came out great)

1 pound button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced very thinly

Scant 1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano (use a vegetable peeler to get large shavings)

Finely great a teaspoon zest from the lemon and then squeeze out 2 tablespoons of juice. In a large serving bowl, mix the lemon zest and juice with the chopped shallot, parsley, thyme, nutmeg 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and a healthy grind of pepper. Whisk in the olive oil.

Add the sliced mushrooms and toss to coat thoroughly with dressing. Let the salad sit for 5-10 minutes, top with Parmesan shavings, and serve, adding salt and pepper to taste.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Phoo-d January 15, 2011 at 7:21 am

This sounds fantastic! I love all mushrooms and with lemon and thyme? Swoon. Wallowing in pelligrino and lime- that is me!


Winn January 15, 2011 at 7:43 am

I will only eat mushrooms raw because of the texture, as you so astutely described. That or “baked” on a pizza. But then pizza makes anything palatable, you know?


Maria January 15, 2011 at 8:03 am

Kitch, I miss you and hope that you are finding your way back. This recipe more that makes up for your absence. I would daresay it couldn’t be further from half-assed, although it will surely shrink my ass to half the size it is. (if I can keep the cheese to what the recipe calls for)

I love mushrooms, raw or cooked, but am always disappointed with the poor selection at our grocery store. And, I will gladly pair mine with Pelligrino, babe, in your honor!


Heather January 15, 2011 at 8:05 am

My fridge spits out anything that isn’t the best of the best mushrooms! Fortunately that’s all I will buy. I like the idea of serving it alongside some form of meat. This Minnesota farm girl doesn’t do well as a vegan!


BigLittleWolf January 15, 2011 at 8:20 am

Your mushroom salad looks yummy. Of course, I have none of the ingredients in my fridge or pantry. And going out is out of the question… (ah, life…) but I did smile at your “set the bar low” option.

Thinking I need to borrow that for a time. Happy Saturday. ;)


Lyndsey January 15, 2011 at 10:58 am

I am happy anytime you pop back in to post whatever!

I have texture issues, mostly custard and puddings, oh and Greek yogurt :P but those canned monstrosities do make my list. I always hated mushrooms as a child, and that was why. It wasn’t until my mom let us try some fresh marinated mushrooms she had for her sukiyaki she was making that I started liking mushrooms. Of course the first mushroom I ever ate that I liked was a morel that we picked ourselves up in northern Michigan, I guess you can’t get much fresher than that. Oops sorry to go on and on, it’s just that it’s been awhile since we had a chance to chat! :D

This mushroom dish looks good to me I love fresh mushrooms, most any kind! I’m trying it!


Erica@PLRH January 15, 2011 at 11:30 am

I wish I could get motivated to participate in my own SMAM. But this salad is tempting. I love mushrooms… even when I was a kid. My youngest however, would run screaming from the house.


Mrs.Mayhem January 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm

The best (bad-tasting) mushroom description ever: “musty, funk-a-riffic taste.” I laughed out loud because you are so right! This is a perfect description for old supermarket mushrooms.

I’ll do my best to find good mushrooms… mainly because my ass could really use some help right about now.


bryan January 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I have so been looking forward to SMAM! Even SMAM light is great… By the way O love love love mushrooms and this sounds wonderful!


elizabeth January 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm

OK, when Michael needs some new side dish inspiration I’m sending him this, as this would be so good over some quinoa!


Allison @ Alli n Son January 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm

I have to admit, I fall into the squimish category when it comes to mushrooms. Except for portobellos. Love those things.


Stacia January 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm

You had me at Parmesan. But if I skip everything else and triple the cheese, that won’t really SMA, will it? Damn.


jc January 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Isn’t it a booby trap?

*picks up a lemon cupcake*


grace January 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm

sadly, i still reside in the land of mushroom hatred, but i can still recognize that these flavors would go well together. nice, healthy dish!


Paula {Salad in a Jar} January 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Raw mushrooms aren’t scary at all to me. I’ll take a second helping of this stuff without even tasting it first.


Velva January 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I never shrink away from mushrooms-any kind of mushrooms. I can eat them from the can, from the earth, cooked or raw Sam I Am ( I know I really screwed this rhyme up but, you get the point).



camilla January 17, 2011 at 4:31 am

Canned mushrooms? now I feel faint!
I could quite happily eat these mushrooms. I’m lovin’ that I have finally got back on the computer so if you want to talk about some bad blogging…….come on over to my neck of the woods :)


Christine January 17, 2011 at 5:29 am

Not fond of mushrooms, but sure LOVE your snark.


Barbara January 17, 2011 at 7:17 am

I’m ahead of the game…I love raw mushrooms. And in a salad like this, divine. It’s a super recipe!
*smiles and waves*


Jane January 17, 2011 at 8:12 am

(smiling and waving!)

“desultory and erratically-timed recipes ” — don’t apologize. I love your recipes, whatever the timing. But mushrooms? Seriously? I’m not a big fan. But because you said so — I’ll try this recipe. Mostly because I can’t pass up a chance to savor Parmigiano-Reggiano.


The Curious Cat January 17, 2011 at 8:17 am

This sounds like my cup of tea – I bet it is yum…what would you serve with it though? A nice slice of chicken maybe? xxx


Jenna January 17, 2011 at 9:00 am

As a mushroom lover, this recipe holds no fears for me. Only anticipation. =)
Oh, and . . .


Justine January 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

Mushroom lover here who’s had a salad quite like this one and absolutely love, love, love it! Haven’t made it in awhile though so I’m glad you reminded me of it. Perhaps it will make it to our next week’s lineup.


Camille Bright-Smith January 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm

desultory and erratic? I WILL TAKE YOU ANY WAY ANYTIME

and I am in.


Siren January 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm

YAY! SMAM recipes! maybe we should all indulge in SMAQ (shrink my a** quarter). I think that’s what i’m looking at this year.

Very glad to see you pop in. And just think, you are sort of sponsoring a web based support group for preggo ladies with your Pellegrino challenge!

Thanks for promoting mushrooms, TKW!


Sandra January 17, 2011 at 9:50 pm

You ALMOST had me convinced about the mushrooms, but then, I was like, “Nope! Just can’t do it!”
You still managed to make something as gooey and squishy as a mushroom look delicious. You are still the ruler of the land!


faemom January 17, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Ok, I tried. I thought for 10 seconds about letting you convert me. Then I thought, No. Sorry, TKW. I believe we evolved so we wouldn’t have to eat fungus. ;-)


Sherri January 18, 2011 at 5:26 am

I will take a half-assed SMAM anyday…. Thanks for the recipe :-).


rebecca @ altared spaces January 18, 2011 at 6:22 am

I adore mushrooms. It is the texture that I adore. Like a marshmellow but without the sickening sweetness. Dipped in dressing I’ll eat mushrooms all afternoon. And this salad looks wonderful.

Any bubbles brewing with your lime?


Gibby January 18, 2011 at 8:11 am

I don’t know about this…if a mushroom isn’t paired with carbs, tomato sauce, and cheese, I tend to stay away…


KLZ January 18, 2011 at 10:23 am

Ew, yuck, mushrooms.

Forgive me, I have the palate of a 5 year old.

Now, where’s the mac and cheese?


Contemporary Troubadour January 18, 2011 at 11:10 am

I think you and I are on the same posting schedule. So don’t worry, I ain’t judging!

I needs me a Holy Grail mushroom provider. But I do like mushrooms cooked, most of the time (it’s taken years for me to say that).


Emily Z January 18, 2011 at 11:13 am

Yum, this looks so good. I love mushrooms, but the Handsome Husband hates them so I can never, EVER cook with them. Lame!


Judimae January 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm

What a lovely looking salad. I always keep a huge supply of mushrooms in my fridge and would love to make this salad. Nice combo of ingredients.


SuziCate January 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm

mmmmm…I LOVE mushrooms! desultory-dang, I had to look that word up, how it has escaped my vocab all these years, I’ll never know!


Rudri January 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm

My favorite line from this – find “unblemished, fat Holy Grail mushrooms.” That just made me laugh out loud. And I really needed it. Especially today. Even though there are no mushroom lovers in my house, just for that line, I am going to go to market and find those kind of mushrooms.


Kelly January 18, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I love mushrooms! Even if I didn’t, this description — “clean, bright taste of lemon and parsley, the woodsy lick of thyme, and the rich sharpness of Parmesan” — would have me running to the market. Yum!


theUngourmet January 18, 2011 at 11:09 pm

I’m actually a bit of a mushroom nut. I know I would love this with the fresh lemon and herbs. Very nice!


Mary Lee January 19, 2011 at 8:07 am

Hmmm. I’m not a raw mushroom fan, but if you say it’s good…! (I don’t suppose I could saute them in a little butter first, huh?)

The Food Editor of our newspaper recommends a TV Diet. It’s pretty easy to follow… just don’t eat anything you see advertised on TV.


Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points January 19, 2011 at 8:35 am

1. I love mushrooms.


2. Here I am…waving!!


Dana January 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Certainly eating meals as light as air helps to shrink one’s ass, half-assed or not.

The mushroom salad looks great!


Erin January 20, 2011 at 6:08 am

I love mushrooms! Raw is a nice change of pace, since I almost always cook them. I’m totally attempting some ass-shrinking recipes lately, too… somehow the holidays kept going right through mid-January, so now I’m trying to keep focused. Vegetarian recipes and a lack of booze pretty much sum up this week… boring, but necessary :)


Privilege of Parenting January 20, 2011 at 7:41 am

Here’s to setting the bar as low as a mushroom—and then trampling it into the forest floor and enjoying salad days together. There’s always witchy magic in your posts… perhaps even in the spaces between (as we readers hold you in our minds and anticipate). In this recipe I can’t help but think of elevating the lowly mushroom, a symbol of transformation (as in Alice in Wonderland and other trippy tales) and the Thyme, perhaps, helps us transcend time as a concept… and the lemon is like the sun that sometimes finds it’s way all the way to the dark recesses of the dark wood… we’re always eating so much more than we typically realize (so thanks for helping us enjoy the elements we might otherwise overlook). Namaste


Leslie @ Five to Nine January 22, 2011 at 6:22 am

I’ve always loved mushrooms (unfortunately, I save all my hatin’ for chevre. Sad, but so help me, I just don’t like it.) – to the tune of hunting for morels in the spring. And -good for SMAM – they’re practically a free food! (In calories, not bucks. I swear I bought shitakes for like $300 a pound last week.) But groceries can serve up some splotchy, slimy excuses for white button mushrooms, that’s for sure.


Leslie @ five to nine January 22, 2011 at 6:25 am

Oops – forgot to turn in my homework. The word “boob” meaning “dunce” showed up around the turn of the seventeenth century – coming from “bobo” (stupid, en Espanol) and from Latin before that. Voila: booby prize = idiot’s prize. A la Wikipedia.


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