Parmesan Crusted Wild Mushrooms


I love food shopping.  Put me in a grocery store that has a large produce and organic section and I’m like a kid in a candy shop.  Every time I’m in a food store, I can’t help taking more time than I should just looking at everything, even if I’m not getting it.  Yes, looking at a full bin of kale makes me happy. Don’t judge.

Speaking of judging, I often find myself judging other people’s carts as I wander around.  Not in a creepy way, but it’s a fun game.  I’m sure everyone judges me, as I usually have just about everything in the produce section in my cart and then some.  Yesterday I swore an old man gave me a raised eyebrow as I helped myself to three pounds of fresh mushrooms to make this dish.  Little did he know how delicious I was going to make those three pounds of mushrooms.  Had he tried the finished product, he probably would have given me a thumbs up as I crammed handfuls of mushrooms into a bag.

If you don’t know by now, I love mushrooms.  They are versatile, inexpensive, and satisfying.  I usually use portobello or baby bella mushrooms, however in this dish I decided to use the crimini and shiitake varieties to change it up.  Crimini mushrooms are basically the same as baby bella mushrooms. They might be slightly more firm, however I really see no difference.  I just feel like I’m changing it up when I get them.  Shiitake are one of my favorite types of mushrooms, however they are very difficult to use. They are extremely flavorful, and if cooked incorrectly can be rubbery.  The two types mixed together are wonderful and provide both a hearty bite and also extreme flavor.  If you want, you can sub some of these varieties for one your favorites.  There are no rules!

Now let’s talk seasonings.  When I first made these, I was skeptical about the combination of flavors, however who am I kidding.  If you add cheese to anything, it is bound to turn out at least decent.  But with the addition of lemon, thyme, and garlic, this mushroom dish is elevated to a new level!  Thyme brings out the meaty flavor mushrooms offer, while the garlic boosts the flavorful parmesan that melts in your mouth.  The lemon provides a freshness that cuts the intense flavor of both the thyme and cheese.  Basically, everything about this plate is perfect.

You can pair these mushrooms with just about anything, or eat them as a meal with some greens.  I have definitely had a large plate of kale and these parmesan crusted wild mushrooms.  And it was delicious.

Next time you are at the food store, don’t be shy, grab a lot of mushrooms!  If anyone asks, just point them to this recipe.  Just be careful: there may not be as many mushrooms next time you go to the store!

Parmesan Crusted Wild Mushrooms

1 1/2 lbs crimini mushrooms
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried ground thyme
zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Make sure there is an oven rack in the top 1/3 portion of the oven (you want it closer to the top).
2.  Wash and remove the stems from the mushrooms.  Cut into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick.  Put the sliced mushrooms in a large bowl.  Sprinkle the lemon zest and 1/4 cup of the cheese over the sliced mushrooms.
2.  In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic.  Pour over the mushrooms and toss gently until the sauce is well distributed.
3.  Spread the mushrooms out on a rimmed pan and bake for 15 minutes.
4.  After 15 minutes, take out of the oven and mix.  Evenly spread them out again and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.  Put them back in the oven and turn the temperature up to 425 F.  Let them bake for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt.  Serve warm.

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