Sunday, January 17, 2010

Arugula Salad With Warm Oyster Mushrooms

Salad is a hard sell for me in winter, when all I crave are soups, stews and rich pastas. But this is one I never turn down, I think because the flavours are so robust. We're not talking watery iceberg lettuce and Italian dressing here, this is sharp, peppery arugula balanced against soft, buttery mushrooms, brought together with freshly squeezed lemon and fruity olive oil. Because there are so few ingredients, try to make sure you're using top quality stuff. Unblemished mushrooms, your best bottle of extra virgin olive oil (my brand is Olio Carli), and of course genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano (not the powdered stuff).

The original recipe I based this on is one of Mario Batali's, but his called for porcini mushrooms which I'm sure would've been wonderful. But it was also very tasty with the oyster mushrooms, and I'm guessing portabellos, creminis, and shiitakes would also work well.

Oyster Mushroom Salad with Arugula

8-10 oyster mushrooms, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 bunch arugula, washed and patted dry
1/8 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Grated zest and juice of half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for shaving
Coarse sea salt

Heat 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saute pan, then add the mushrooms. Cook until softened, 8-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, place the arugula, 1/8 cup olive oil, lemon zest and juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to mix thoroughly. Divide the salad equally among two plates.

Remove the hot mushrooms from the pan and place on the arugula. Using a vegetable peeler, shave Parmigiano-Reggiano onto the salad. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and coarse sea salt over top and serve.

Serves 2

Modified from Mario Batali's recipe for Porcini Salad with Arugula, from Molto Italiano, Mario Batali, Harper Collins, 2005.

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