Makenna Held, owner of The Courageous Cooking School
- 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, minced. This is about 8-12 sundried tomatoes depending on size
- 4 cups large, dense mushrooms (about 1⁄3 pound ) sliced paper-thin. paper- thin sliced, large, dense mushrooms (Usually 6 large brown or white cap mushrooms. Don’t use shiitake or full-size portobello, as they will be shredded to smithereens by the mandoline)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (red or white wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar will all work, too)
- Dried or fresh thyme to taste, and if using dried you will probably need 1 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon dried sumac
- Flaky salt such as Maldon, for finishing,
- Freshly ground pepper
Mince the sun-dried tomatoes. If packed in oil, set aside. If the sun-dried tomatoes are not packed in oil, then place in a small bowl, and cover with very hot water for 3-5 minutes, to soften. Then drain and set aside If you are using sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, place them in a bowl and set aside.
Slice the mushrooms as thinly as possible on a mandoline or with a knife. You’re going for paper-thin mushrooms here. Set aside.
In one of the small bowls, Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar together. If using dried thyme, incorporate 1 teaspoon into the mixture here so that it gets hydrated and has time to release its flavor. Taste after a few minutes.
You want to taste the thyme. If you can’t, add a bit more. (Thyme is a tricky spice. Fresh dried thyme is beautifully pungent, but older thyme loses a lot of flavor). If using fresh thyme, wait until the end to add it to the oil and vinegar. Taste as you go to make sure the dressing is neither too acidic nor too bland.
Divide the mushrooms among the plates, mounding them in the center and taking care not to smush them–they are delicate! Drizzle with the dressing, starting with a gentle drizzle as not to over-dress the mushrooms, causing them to become soggy.
Top the mushrooms with the sun-dried tomatoes, dispersing them evenly among the plates. Then, sprinkle with flaky salt, and a few cracks of pepper. Finish with 1⁄2 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves (if using), and a couple pinches of sumac.
Let stand for two minutes to allow the mushrooms to absorb the dressing. Then, serve and eat right away.
NOTE: You can plate the mushrooms and prepare the dressing ahead of time, but don’t drizzle the dressing until just before you’re ready to eat or the delicate mushrooms will become sad and soggy. Make sure to whisk the olive oil and vinegar right before you drizzle to ensure that they are well incorporated.
Instead of vinegar and thyme:
Thinly slice 1 shallot crosswise. In a small bowl, cover the shallots with the juice of 1-2 limes–just enough to submerge the shallots. Let the shallots pickle in the limes juice for at least and cover with lime juice (about 1-2 limes, depending on how fresh and juicy they are) for at least 5 minutes. Gently toss the mushrooms in oil, remembering to go slowly to avoid soggy mushrooms. Stir in the lime juice soaked shallots, going slowly so as not to drown the mushrooms in acid. Taste as you go
Instead of seasoning with thyme, top the mushrooms with microplaned garlic, chopped cilantro, and chile powder/flake/paprika. Still top with a crunchy salt like Maldon. Use quantities that suit your tastes. Love garlic? Add more. Dislike cilantro? Skip it. Want a big kick? Go forth with the chili power.
Another riff? Instead of lime juice, soak the shallots in lemon juice. Then top with fresh dill, nigella seeds, microplaned garlic, chile flakes and shaved parmesan cheese.