Here’s a great way to put up any mushroom, but especially those that have gills waiting to soak up juices, or need a little boost in the flavor department, as milkcaps and ho-hum mushrooms like Pluteus and Megacollybia rodmani do, milkcaps being vastly superior of the aforementioned three.
The marinade is a little trick I backward engineered from chef legend Joel Robuchon, famous for being the most Michelin star-studded chef in the world, along with being the man who single made mashed potatoes fashionable via the also legendary pommes de terre robuchon-just think more butter than you have ever put in one dish. Maybe someday I’ll share how to make them.
I worked for a while with a chef who did a tour in Robuchon’s flagship Las Vegas restaurant. In between the tales of soul-crushing pressure and anal-retentive sous chefs, my favorite behind the scenes tale he spun was how the restaurant managed to get unpasteurized French cheeses: they all came vaccum-sealed, smuggled in the bellies of whole fish air-freighted overnight from Europe.
Back to the mushroom preserves here, I took the original recipe and chopped it up a bit, so that it could be put up for lengthy periods if I wanted. Here’s the basics:
Take some mushrooms, brown them gently, then add garlic, shallot, tomato juice, lemon, coriander, and crushed chili. After everything has cooked together for a bit, you top it off with some oil and refrigerate to let the flavors marinate.
In the book, Chef Robuchon says you might use button mushrooms for the preparation, and they would be fine, but tomato in particular screams milk cap to me, I don’t know exactly what it is, but it does. Whatever milkcap you use, say rovellons, volemus, indigos, or another, will taste great here.
That being said, anything with gills to soak up the citrusy-spiced tomato juices would be just fine too, or even something that just needs some help in the flavor department, like aborted entolomas. There’s an example of how I use things like this at the bottom of the post, too.
Milkcaps vary in edible quality greatly between species, but one thing is the same: they benefit from being caramelized and lightly browned, and will soak up the tomato marinate really well.
Mushroom Preserves with Tomato, Coriander, and Chili
- 5 ounces freshest possible milkcap mushrooms
- 1.5 tablespoons freshly ground coriander seed
- 1/4 cup finely diced shallot
- 2 tablespoon flavorless cooking oil or blended olive oil
- 1.5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar or to taste if you don't plan on canning them
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3/4 cup tomato juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for finishing
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- Brown the mushrooms in the 2 tablespoons of oil until cooked through, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the shallot and garlic to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes more, then add the tomato juice, chili, and coriander and simmer for a minute or two.
- Transfer the mixture a container, add the lemon juice and zest, double check the seasoning for salt, chili and lemon, and adjust as needed.
- Pour over the olive oil to keep everything underneath the liquid, then cool to room temperature and refrigerate. The mushrooms will keep for a week or two in the fridge as long as they're completely under the liquid, but keep an eye on it, if it bubbles, or looks carbonated, the tomato has fermented and it should be discarded.
- The marinated mushrooms can also be canned and stored at room temperature.
Wilted Arugula and Nasturtium Salad with Shrimp and Marinated Milkcaps
Warm up the mushrooms, saute some shrimp, then spoon it over fresh arugula, purlsane, and nasturtiums and let it wilt. Drizzle with olive oil and a dash of lemon. See the method here.