Saturday, August 6, 2011

Go Ahead, Crowd the Mushrooms

Julia Childs stressed, "Don't crowd the mushrooms."  

Crowding would result in steamed instead of the nicely browned mushrooms.  But seriously, who has the time and patience to brown batch after batch of mushrooms?  I have a 14-in pan and each batch barely yields a single side serving.
Crowd the mushrooms, but crowd them in a cast iron pan.
I have found the perfect solution.  Crowd the mushrooms, but crowd them in a cast iron pan.  
Cast iron retains heat well enough so that the moisture from the mushrooms will soon evaporate away, allowing the mushrooms to brown. 
Oh, Julia.  I love you, but I'm breaking your rules.
Do not stir!

Sautéed Mushrooms
8 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp grapeseed oil (or any vegetable oil)

Heat cast iron pan over med-high heat.  Add oil and swirl around to make sure oil covers the entire surface.  Allow the oil to heat for 30 seconds.

Spread the mushrooms evenly in the pan.  
DO NOT stir. I know it's hard to resist stirring, but it is important to the browning process to not stir until after the first layer of mushrooms starts to brown.  

Cook until the mushroom juices evaporate.  

Once the first layer of mushrooms have just started to brown, stir up the mushrooms so that the other layers get to the bottom of the pan.  Spread evenly.

The mushrooms will shrink during the cooking process, allowing more surface area on the pan.

Do not worry about the pan being dry at this point. Let the juices from the other layers evaporate and brown. Do no add more oil.

There you have it, perfectly browned mushrooms even with crowding.

Nicely browned mushrooms :o)


  1. Ummmm looking yummy! I love to eat mushrooms but have anyone tried the mushroom vegetables and cheese crepe?? If no the you guys should try that at least once!

    1. Alex - I am a mushroom feign. I have tried a mushroom veggie cheese crepe before, it was delicious. I favor savory crepes over the sweet ones.