As I’ve learned to love and appreciate a good salad over time, I’ve been trying to add more of them to our rotation, saving the more complicated ones for the weekend, or for days when I’m craving something simple and light during one of my sabor de soledad sessions. There’s one recipe from Alton Brown’s new cookbook that’s been an early favorite, but given that strawberries feature heavily in it, I’ve been waiting for them to come into their peak season before writing about it. This recipe, on the other hand, is relatively season-agnostic* and what I like about it is that in the winter it helps you think of warmer days and in the summer the grilled mushrooms add substance without weighing the dish down on a hot day.
Since this comes from Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy, there are several components to the dish like making his simple lemon and oil dressing as well as the parsley and garlic he uses to coat the mushrooms, but none of them are terribly complicated to make. There are also the flourishes that you would expect to see from a chef dealing in fine dining, like rubbing the salad plate with a halved lemon before arranging the rest of your ingredients on top.
The original recipe actually calls for fresh porcini, which is something I personally can’t get my hands on all that often, which is why I tend to gravitate towards the cremini mushrooms instead as they are usually readily available and can hold their shape on a grill or plancha. You could experiment with any mushroom, of course–one of these days I might give oysters a try, or those big king oyster mushrooms that kind of resemble porcini–but in the meantime I’m pretty happy with this interpretation too.
Chargrilled mushroom salad
adapted from Made in Italy
serves 2 as a substantial salad
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 4 tablespoons parsley leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 celery stalk, julienned
- 1 lemon, halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 handfuls of mixed salad greens
- Shavings/shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 4-5 chives for garnish
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make the parsley and garlic: Cover the garlic cloves with the parsley leaves and mince, and then toss them with the mushroom slices in a bowl with a little olive oil and kosher salt. Heat up a grill or plancha on medium heat and grill the mushrooms until they have browned.
On each salad plate, rub one half of the lemon and then divide the mushrooms onto each plate.
Make the lemon oil: combine the rest of the olive oil with the juice from both lemon halves, add a pinch of kosher salt and whisk well to combine.
Place a handful of salad greens over each pile of mushrooms, then add the celery, dress each plate with the lemon oil, and then garnish with chives and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve immediately.
*a phrase I am shamelessly stealing from Anthony Bourdain’s Appetites cookbook