All mushrooms are edible, but some only once.
~ Croatian Proverb ~
I think we all sometimes wonder about those dangerous mushrooms out there in the world. When I was a child there was a very cranky old man who lived in our street who used to come and collect the mushrooms growing on our lawn. He happily ate them without ever getting poisoned. He even offered his wild mushroom dishes to us on many occasions, but we politely declined. I am perfectly happy to eat any mushrooms grown on a reputable mushroom farm though. And no, I don’t care what they grow on – they are delicious!
A raw deal?
My parents started putting raw (shop-bought) mushrooms into salads when I was a teenager. Hmmm, I wasn’t so sure if this was going to be okay. But then I learnt that raw mushrooms have a lovely fresh, almost minty taste. So raw mushrooms were perfectly okay too! This was getting better and better. Next, I learnt that mushrooms are low carb veggies that can be eaten in large quantities, and from then on I was a mushroom addict. Mushroom pasta sauce, Chicken and Mushroom pie and mushroom sauce on burgers or steak are all my favourites. I might even die from eating a poisonous mushroom one day, but my feeling is “as long as it was tasty”!
No lettuce required
You can imagine my pleasure when I discovered a Mushroom Salad in a little salad recipe book many years ago. And the salad was entirely made up of mushrooms – no lettuce required! The recipe just combined baby button mushrooms and about a cup of French salad dressing. Simple and easy! I initially made my Mushrooms Salad using French salad dressing, but later I discovered that I can tweak the flavours much more when I make my own vinaigrette. Baby button mushrooms are extremely expensive and I have also long ago given up buying them. Now I use whatever I have in the fridge. I am sure cranky old Oom Vic would even have added those prizewinners from the front lawn!
- 500 g white button mushrooms
- ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
- 2 t whole-grain or dijon mustard
- 30 ml red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 15 ml sweet chilli sauce (or sugar)
- ½ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth and cut into quarters.
- Place in a large bowl and add the chopped parsley.
- In a small bowl or glass jar, combine the mustard, vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice and sweet chilli sauce.
- Whisk in the olive oil slowly until an emulsion starts to form.
- Taste the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can also add more sweetness if you need to.
- Add the vinaigrette to the mushrooms and toss.
- Cover the salad with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
- I was taught never to wash mushrooms as they absorb moisture quickly. If the mushrooms are very dirty though, it is fine to give them a very quick rinse (don't let them sit in water for long) and dry them on a clean cloth.
- The acid in the vinegar and lemon juice basically does the same job as heat would do when cooking mushrooms. Therefore this salad does get a bit watery when left for too long. Serve it 10 to 15 minutes after preparation as that gives the vinaigrette enough time to do it's work without the salad getting watery. If you have leftovers, drain the moisture off when you are ready to use and serve.