Broiled Mushrooms

“Our life is frittered away by detail . . . simplify, simplify.” ~Henry David Thoreau

• ½-1lb mushrooms (6-8 large mushroom caps or 12-15 smaller whole mushrooms), gathered by a knowledgeable and trusty person, or purchased
• 4 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 shallot or 2 scallions, minced
• 2 tablespoons sherry
• kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 2 tablespoons minced parsley or tarragon or chervil, optional
• one baguette (or as MRW wrote in a letter, “some of that French-bread, which comes by the yard”)

Make a hardwood fire. While it burns down mostly to coals, brush the mushrooms clean. (If any are too small to stay on the grill, thread them on skewers.) Place a sturdy grill over the coal bed. Put the butter and oil in a cast-iron frying pan in a bed of coals or on the grill. When the butter melts, remove from the heat.

Place the mushrooms on the grill. Brush them with a little of the melted butter, and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Flip over with tongs, and butter and season the other side, then leave them to cook for a while. Keep one eye on them and flip them when they need it.

While the mushrooms broil, add the shallot or scallions to the pan and replace over the coals. Cook gently until softened. Add the sherry and simmer for a couple minutes.

Meanwhile, when the mushrooms are done through, toss them into the butter mixture, dispensing with skewers if you used them. (You can slice larger ones up at this point, if desired.) Correct the seasonings, and allow to stew just as long as it takes you to make toast.

Slice your baguette thinly on the bias, and grill briefly over the coals, turning once. Place a few toasts on each plate and top with the broiled mushrooms and a scatter of optional minced herb.

Serves 2 – 4.

Read the Story inspired by the recipe.