Mushrooms are my new meat

IMG_5652I have a new favorite summertime meal that is quickly going to translate to a fall and winter meal. Mushrooms with roasted potatoes. Vegan and yummy.

Earlier this spring, Groom and I went to the Bath Farmers Market and swung by the stand for Oyster Creek Mushroom Company, which is based in Damariscotta.

I have no doubt, if you shop local markets along the coast, you have run into their dried mushrooms. But, you can also find them selling fresh mushrooms (are mushrooms ever considered “fresh”?) at the Bath Farmers Market, Damariscotta Farmers Market, Camden Farmers Market, and Boothbay Farmers Market.photo

I am not afraid of mushrooms. I like to cook with mushrooms and frequently use them as filler and in sauces. But, I have never considered them to be a main entree until this summer. And now I can’t get enough.

On our first forage into mushroom land (oh my god I am so sorry but I couldn’t resist writing that sentence), we had the woman at the Oyster Creek stand fill a bag with various varieties. She added something called cinnamon caps that looked terrifying, but not nearly as terrifying as something labeled as lion’s mane. And, of course we wanted some of those expensive chanterelle because we are total snobs, along with hen of the woods and oyster mushrooms.

IMG_5673The mushroom that was labeled as a lion’s mane looked kind of like a brain and of course I didn’t take any pictures while cooking them because I was too excited. But, I do have pictures from previous times cooking up some mushrooms. So, the picture here is sort of what it all looked like, except this image likely depicts store-bought mushrooms because they look kind of blah here and the wild mushrooms are HUZZAH!

Here’s what we do. Both Groom and I have prepared this meal, so I’m going to use that annoying marriage “we.”

We chop up most of the mushrooms, like the brainy looking ones, but leave the skinny mushrooms (your hen of the woods and your oysters) whole after we remove the skinnies from their little bases.

photo 3Then, we glug glug some olive oil in a skillet and toss in a clove or two of thinly sliced garlic. The garlic cooks for a bit in the oil, sort of infusing the oil with all the garlicky goodness. And then we remove the garlic and toss in the mushrooms with some scallions.

When the mushrooms are all cooked up, toss them over some roasted potatoes (I spray the roasted potatoes with truffle oil). That’s it. The first time we did this, I realized sometimes when I’m craving a steak with mushrooms, I just want the mushrooms. And the glass of red wine. I always want the wine.

photo 4For the meal pictured here, we ate them with grilled Black Crow peasant bread (which has an inexplicable link to Xanax on its homepage) from the Bath Natural Food Market, roasted potatoes (not local, sorry…even the truffle oil was from Italy…), and some mystery greens* cooked in the mushroom pan and spritzed with lemon.

I have tried doing this with grocery store mushrooms as you can see from the picture way up above and it totally works in a pinch. But, I had to add a little red vermouth and a bloop of soy. It was good, but it wasn’t the most delicious thing ever. Go with the fresh.

*Can anyone identify the greens we ate the other night (see below)? They were labeled arugula at the farmers market, but I knew immediately they were something else. Sort of spiky, a hint of purple in the stem, hard and bitter when raw, and chewy when cooked. Groom suggested maybe they were lawn clippings, but I can’t tell whether he was screwing with me. It wasn’t kale. I don’t think.

photo 2

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Sarah Devlin

About Sarah Devlin

Sarah Devlin has been writing about the recreational industry since the late ’90s but ironically can’t run, swim, or bike a mile.