Saturday, January 7, 2012

Warm Mushroom Salad with Parmesan and Mixed Greens

This dish is another recipe by Pierre Gagnaire; however, for this recipe, I made some of my own tweaks.  These were not tweaks of creativity so much as they were changes based upon necessity.  The original recipe is Warm Mushroom Salad with Parmesan and Arugula.  I did not have any arugula and, because both Clare and I would be traveling, it did not make sense to buy arugula and then have to throw away some because it went bad while we were gone.  However, we did have some mixed greens or herb salad, so I decided to use those greens in place of the arugula.

This is a very good dish, because of the difference textures provided by the cooked mushrooms, the cheese shavings and the crisp greens.  It is also a very easy recipe to make.  The only cooking involved is the sauteing of the mushrooms.  So, this is a great recipe to make on the fly or at the last minute (so long as you have all of the ingredients).

The only other change I made was that I plated the mushrooms, cheese and lettuce side-by-side, rather than with the mushrooms on the bottom and then topped with the cheese and lettuce.  This was more for the pictures that I am posting on this blog than anything else.  Chef Gagnaire plates the dish with the mushrooms on bottom, topped with the cheese and greens because he wants the heat fro the mushrooms to begin to melt the cheese and wilt the greens.  I will do that the next time I make this dish, because I will not need to take any pictures.

Adapted from a recipe by Pierre Gagnaire, available at Food and Wine
Serves 4

2 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of mixed mushrooms, cut into large pieces
1/4 cup vegetable stock (or veal/chicken demiglace)
Sea salt
2 ounces of Parmigiano Reggiano, thinly shaved
6 ounces of mixed greens (or arugula)

1.  Saute the Mushrooms.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat, stirring until tender and lightly browned, about five minutes. Add the vegetable stock and cook over moderate heat for three minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt.

2.  Plate the Dish.  Mound the mushrooms on warmed plates and top with Parmigiano Reggiano shavings.  In a bowl, toss the mixed greens with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Pile the greens on top of the mushrooms and serve.


For this dish, the key ingredients are mushrooms, Parmigiano Reggiano and greens, all of which would seem to call for a white wine.  Indeed, you could serve this with just about any white wine.  However, for me, the mushrooms and Parmigiano Reggiano seem to call for a Lambrusco.  Winemakers in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna produce the best Lambrusco wines in the world, including this one:

Cleto Chiarli -- Vecchia Modena Premium.
100% Lambrusco di Sorbara
Reggio-Emilia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Sour cherry tastes, with lightness and carbonation

If you are looking for a beer to pair with this dish, you could go with any pilsner or pale ale.  The light hop taste of these beers would go well with the mushrooms and the greens.  However, if you want to be a little more adventurous or experimental, then you might want to try a saison, such as this one:

Birrificio del Ducato -- Nuova Mattina.
Italian-style Saison
Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Flavors of chamomile, green peppers, ginger, and coriander. 


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