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Dinner Tonight! | QUICK FIX

You're a Fungi

April 18, 2001|MAYI BRADY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

I encounter the mushroom debate whenever I want to make a recipe like this one. Is it OK to rinse mushrooms? Wipe them with a damp paper towel? Or just lightly brush any grit off?

I think it depends. If you're going to use them right away, put them in a colander and give them a quick rinse. Sturdier mushrooms, such as white or Italian browns, can be wiped clean and then stored in an airtight plastic bag along with a damp paper towel for three to four days. More fragile mushrooms-chanterelles, for example-should be gently brushed clean and then stored the same way. Just treat your mushrooms gently and the reward will be spectacular.

To make the garlic toast, cut a loaf of French bread into 1-inch-thick slices. Toast the slices until golden brown, then rub them with cloves of peeled garlic.

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Apron from Bristol Kitchen stores.

STAPLES

Beef broth

Butter

Cornstarch

Garlic

Olive oil

Red wine vinegar

Shallots

Tawny Port

Worcestershire sauce

SHOPPING LIST

1 loaf French bread

1 pound brown Italian mushrooms

1 (1-ounce) package dried shiitake mushrooms

1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms

1 (8-ounce) package cooked sausage

Bag of salad greens

Bottled salad dressing

1 bunch fresh thyme

GAME PLAN

30 minutes before: Begin soaking dried mushrooms. Mince garlic and shallots. Peel whole garlic.

25 minutes before: Slice fresh mushrooms. Begin cooking mushrooms. Measure Port, vinegar, Wor-cestershire. Slice bread.

10 minutes before: Chop dried mushrooms. Slice sausage. Toast bread.

5 minutes before: Finish mushroom ragout. Rub toast with garlic clove. Toss salad.

MENU

Wild Mushroom and Sausage Ragout

Garlic Toast

Mixed Green Salad

Wild Mushroom and Sausage Ragout

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms

Water

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, minced

1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

1 pound Italian brown mushrooms, sliced

1/2 pound cooked sausage, sliced

3 tablespoons tawny Port

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

3/4 to 1 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced

Salt, pepper

Soak the dried shiitakes in about 1 1/4 cups of very hot water. Set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring until very fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the fresh shiitakes, the brown mushrooms and the sausage; raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until the moisture from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Add the Port, vinegar and Worcestershire and cook until that liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Reserving the soaking liquid, drain the dried shiitakes gently, squeezing out any excess water. Chop them and add them to the skillet.

Add enough beef broth to the reserved liquid to make 2 cups. Stir in the cornstarch then add the mixture to the skillet.

Bring to a boil and cook about 1 minute until thickened. Stir in the thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Serve over the garlic toast.

6 servings. Each serving: 271 calories; 803 mg sodium; 42 mg cholesterol; 18 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 1.89 grams fiber.

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