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November 21, 2010

It seems there is always a stash of mushrooms in the fridge. The white button sort. This specific variety plays a very important role in a dish made by a cook I know. The dish is spaghetti Bolognese, and it is like no other spaghetti Bolognese out there. I guess it’s a direct reflection of the cook who makes it. Way out there and like no other.

It seems far too many mushrooms are always purchased (by the emerging cook) for the Bolognese. The leftovers sit neglected in the fridge, pushed too close together and trapped in a plastic bag to perish. As you might know, mushrooms prefer not to be suffocated in a plastic bag (they don’t like water and can’t swim), but stored comfortably in a paper one. I’m doing my best to educate this emerging cook (are you listening?). Treat your mushrooms well and they might bring you joy. And I’m still speaking of the white button variety. And Gavin, if you’re reading, I thought you banned plastic bags in the City? (Oh, the emerging cook just explained to me that we don’t actually live in the City.)

I was in the mood for a light lunch and strangely inspired by the protein plate (also great for breakfast with a juice) I’ve purchased at Starbucks more than once,

Behold, the deconstructed bento box.

Toasted almonds, hard-boiled egg, white cheddar, lettuce and marinated mushrooms.

Had it been a warm sunny day and I was on a holiday in the South of France, I’d  have taken this plate to my terrace and enjoyed it with a nice glass of prosecco or two. In reality, it was raining and I waited until 6 p.m. To drink. From what I remember.

I’ve made this mushroom salad once before, after watching an episode of Everyday Italian with the delightful Giada de Laurentiis. At the time it was motivation to rescue and transform a few left-behind mushrooms into something, anything. To take them from death row candidates to delicious salad. It worked, yet I’ve not done it since. Until today.

I’ve also found an adaptation of that same recipe on Dreamy Dish, along with helpful tips about cleaning mushrooms in that post. Very helpful people, be advised.


Raw sliced mushrooms with herbs

Clean mushroom heads with a brush or dry towel. Removing stems is optional.

Slice the mushrooms thin and add to a large bowl.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Squeeze half of a lemon (I used a lime this time).

Drizzle with olive oil to coat.

Sprinkle with a bit of oregano, dried mint and red pepper flakes.

Toss together and let sit at room temperature to marinate.

Works well as a light lunch or along side grilled fish for a light dinner. If the fish was wrapped in bacon, it’d be a huge plus. If you have a bottle of prosecco, another (huge) plus.

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