This technique for pan-roasted mushrooms might seem counterintuitive but our testers unanimously agreed that it made perfectly textured, not soggy and just a little crisp, mushrooms with loads of buttery, herbal flavor. Not only that, it’s pretty simple.
Mushrooms have high water content and must be cooked over high heat long enough to remove the excess moisture. I add a splash of water to the skillet to prevent them from burning before they can release their natural, flavorful juices. Undercooking mushrooms is a common mistake for both home cooks and chefs. I like to cook mushrooms until they are dark and crispy. They become sponge-like, soaking up the rich flavors of butter and herbs added in the cooking process.–Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann
Pan-Roasted Mushrooms FAQs
This recipe relies on the careful timing of moisture to make the mushrooms cook up without being soggy and ending up just a little crisp. Adding the salt at the very end means that you won’t upset that balance by drawing out more moisture than you should.
This recipe uses 8 cups of mushrooms, all cooked at once in a large cast-iron skillet. If you just really love mushrooms or if you’re cooking for more than 4 people, you can do it but with this word of caution–crowding mushrooms in a pan will lead to them steaming, rather than cooking as intended. Because they’re better freshly roasted, the best way to increase the amount is to cook 2 batches at once in separate pans.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 cups sliced wild mushrooms such as chanterelle, shiitake, oyster, trumpet, or morel, preferably just a single variety and not a mix
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small chunks
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 garlic cloves minced
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- To make the pan-roasted mushrooms, heat your largest skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Add the oil and wait for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and water and cook, without stirring or, okay, stirring just once or twice, until the mushrooms are crisp at the edges and golden, about 8 minutes or maybe even 12 minutes, depending on the type of mushroom.
- Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the butter, shallots, thyme, chives, and garlic, and toss just until the butter melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I used wild foraged chanterelle mushrooms, and this was a delicious way to prepare them. I was dubious about not stirring or shaking the pan while they cooked, but the end result was perfectly roasted mushrooms. I can’t wait to make them again.
We bought a wonderful selection of wild mushrooms from the mushroom purveyor at our farmers’ market. We used organic tree oysters, king trumpets, and pioppinis. We used a cast-iron skillet to cook them in. I had never added water with mushrooms when cooking them, but I’ll be trying that again. After just a few minutes, the mushrooms began to caramelize.
I added the herbs as well as the shallots and garlic and, last, some butter, all earlier than the recipe suggests because I didn’t want the condiments raw. The resulting mushrooms were very golden, moist, and yet a bit crispy, and really delicious. This is a method that I’ll use again.
I found that the mushrooms started to caramelize by the end of the 8 minutes, so I would recommend perhaps stirring the mushrooms once and cooking them a little longer to ensure that they are more evenly caramelized.
I used 4 tablespoons of butter, and while it was tasty in the finished dish, I was left with a small puddle of butter on the plate, so I would suggest using perhaps a little less butter. Neither the garlic nor the shallot was too raw in the final dish.
Sometimes you open your fridge and need to cook up whatever is lurking. And so it went for my baby Bella mushrooms. When I looked at this recipe, I realized it was a technique I had never used and was anxious to try it. Adding water? Not stirring? Add the flavorings at the end, off the heat? All of these thoughts were counterintuitive to me but I grabbed my enameled cast iron skillet and got to work.
Admittedly, I didn’t measure my sliced mushrooms, instead, I used 12 ounces. I cut back on the water and flavorings a bit and in 10 minutes I had the most delicious roasted mushrooms with caramelized edges. The flavorings cooked from the residual heat in the pan (the beauty of cast iron!) which means the garlic and shallots were mellowed and went great with the thyme and chives.
I used far less butter than called for just because that’s how I cook. And I only stirred twice! The end product was fantastic. I actually ended up using it as an omelet filling for some farm-fresh eggs. It would make a fabulous side dish for any meat, fish, or chicken.
Originally published November 28, 2011