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Jun 7, 2005 12:51 PM

Sauteeing Mushrooms

  • d

Is there a technique for sauteeing button mushrooms so they don't release their water and wind up becoming stewed? I'm looking for a that buttery, fried quality.


David A.

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  1. An easy recipe: Put a bi;t of butter in the pan- add the mushrooms, skome S/P, and a squirt of fresh lemon juice. Cook on medium heat and be patient- all of the water will evaporate, and the mushrooms will b e dryy and tasty. If you continue to cook until the mushrooms turn brown, they will take on an almost nutty flavor. Delicious. Good luck

    1. The biggest keys are preheating the pan well, not overcrowding it with mushrooms (i.e., add only enough mushrooms to cover the bottom of the pan in a single loose layer), and resisting the temptation to toss and turn them until they are well seared on the first side.

      This way, the pan stays hot (the temp drops too much if you add a large batch all at once) so when the mushrooms release their moisture, it almost immediately evaporates into steam instead of sitting at the bottom of the pan and stewing the mushrooms.

      I like start with a little olive oil and then add a little butter once the browning is well under way, but that's not a biggie.

      6 Replies
      1. re: OSM

        That's the way I do it also (and peanut oil instead of olive for some recipes). And, don't cover the pan.

        Don't try to cook them on high, but get the pan pretty hot before you add the single layer of mushrooms, lower the heat to medium high, and only turn when the start to brown a little.

        I've then placed them in the pan used for oven roasting a steak, toss them in those juices, maybe add some wine at the very end, or fresh herbs or even dices tomatoes. This is only AFTER they are pretty much done with the first method. In other words, don't add any other ingredients until the shrooms are basically done. Even crushed garlic and greens of onions have enough moisture to change the results.

        1. re: OSM

          Similiar method for me. Start with dry mushrooms (don't wash, brush). Med-high pan, a little oil/butter, sear, toss, S&P, watch. Finish with some butter.

          1. re: petradish

            Just an aside - the advice in all posts so far is dead on.

            But, to dispel a myth - you can wash most mushroom varieties in water. Of course you can brush as well. But a wet paper towel works perfectly, washing under running water, washing in a big bowl of water, etc. all are perfectly fine. The 'myth' is the 'shrooms get water logged - they do not. Well, most kinds do not - any type with a firm flesh (i.e. white, brown/cremini/portobella, etc.).

            Being basically dry is good advice.

            If you doubt, weigh a batch of 'shrooms, brush clean, re-weigh. Weigh a batch of 'shrooms, wash with water, pat dry, re-weigh. The difference, if any, will be a small percentage of overall weight.

            Nothing against brushing, just don't lose any sleep over it.

            1. re: rotochicken

              I didn't mean to suggest that mushrooms become water-logged from washing, just wet on the outside. The fried (but not stewed) character the OP was looking for is easier to achieve with totally dry mushrooms, like anything seared in a pan.

              I always rinse morels in water to flush out pesky little worms.

          2. re: OSM
            Seattle Rose

            I agree with David A.'s method. Adding a little thyme is nice if appropriate for what else you are serving.

            1. re: Seattle Rose

              Also a splash of sherry and/or ponzu. Just cook until they absorb it all! I usually let my mushrooms saute at least 15-20 minutes.