Saturday, January 21, 2012

Marinated Mushroom Antipasto Kabobs

For this recipe, you could buy a jar of marinated mushrooms from the grocery store....

Or you could buy mushrooms and make your own and they will taste infinitely better.

When you buy mushrooms, you not only have to decide what variety (porcini, shitake, etc) to purchase, you have to choose what kind to buy (fresh, dried, jarred).  So what kind is the best?  That's up to you.  Here are my thoughts on each.

Clockwise from left:  Dried porcini, dried wood ear, portobello,  dried oyster, shiitake, button, &  Green Giant.

Fresh Mushrooms
General:  Fresh is relative.  Store fresh is good but farm fresh from local producers is even better.  Days spent on trucks in shipping make a difference with fresh mushrooms.
Pros:  Better taste and texture, more nutrients,
Cons:  Highly perishable

Dried Mushrooms
General: "With a few exceptionas (chantrelles, oysters, matsutakes, drying intensifies mushroom flavor by a combination of heightened enzyme activities and browning reactions between amino acids and sugars." (McGee 9491)
Pros:  Easy storage,  easier to find exotic varieties, last for eternity, you can use the reconstituting liquid as a flavorful broth
Cons:  even when reconstituted, the texture isn't the same, relatively expensive compared to fresh by weight

Canned/Jarred Mushrooms
General:   If I do use them, I prefer to use ones in glass so you can at lease see what you are getting and you can store a partial jar. 
Pros:  Available long term
Cons:  precooked texture, lack of quality control in cheap brands, can seem slimy.  Probably are the reason that most people who hate mushrooms (cough - Jenn's Chris - cough) hate mushrooms.

Fire roasted mushrooms make these kabobs much more interesting to the palate. First, the lower temperature cooking (instead of sauteing or direct grilling) takes advantage of the mushrooms enzymes (McGee 9498).  Second, the subtle kiss of wood smoke brings out the earthiness of the 'shrooms.

Marinated Mushroom Antipasto Kabobs
Servings: 6 appetizer portions

  • 12 ea white mushrooms, wiped clean and stems removed
  • 6 slices hard salami, cut in half
  • 12 stuffed olives
  • 12 cubes of smoked gouda

For the marinade
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp roasted red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, fresh and finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 1.5 tsp Mediterranean Spice Sea Salt*
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. Preheat a charcoal grill to 300f and set up for indirect cooking*.  You could also roast these in the oven.
  2. Mix the marinade ingredients together.
  3. Dip the mushrooms in the marinade to coat them.
  4. Toss a small handful of wood chips* on the coals and roast the mushrooms on the grill with the lid closed for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove mushrooms and return them to the marinade.  Allow to marinade for at least 4 hours.*
  6. Remove mushrooms from the marinade (reserve marinade) and assemble the kabobs on cocktail skewers.  
  7. Drizzle with some of the reserved marinade
  • Mediterranean Spiced Sea Salt is from the McCormick's Gourmet Collection.  Alexis bought a jar at Food City about a month ago and I've liked using it in several dishes.  You could substitute half kosher salt and half Italian seasoning.
  • Instead of the normal ways of indirect grilling (offset coals, plate setter, etc), I used a ceramic pie pan as a heat diffuser.  
  • Use a mild wood like alder wood or fruit woods.  Hickory and oak would probably be too harsh on mushrooms, overpowering them with smoke flavor.
  • If you were just making marinated mushrooms and not eating them immediately, once you have marinated them overnight, drain the marinade and pour in enough olive oil to cover the mushrooms.  I will keep them like this for up to a week or more on refrigeration.
Quick bath before fire roasting.

My "quickie indirect grill set up".  

They are done when they brown and start to shrink, 15-20 minutes at 300f should do.
This series was written in conjunction with Brewer's Mushrooms.  It is a joint project with a local expert and is not a paid advertisement.  Hugh Brewer is trained in mycorestoration and Brewer's Mushrooms has been specializing in fresh gourmet mushrooms for years.  Brewer's Mushrooms offers fresh mushrooms at local marketsCSA sharesgrow kits, and workshops.