Mushrooms and Garlic

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Sautéing mushrooms concentrates their flavor by extracting excess moisture while they are browning. Adding garlic to the browned mushrooms creates a flavor combination that goes birds and poultry. You will also enjoy this combination with grilled veal chops. In France, both cultivated and wild mushrooms are used in this recipe. A number of different mushrooms have become available recently, so try this recipe with any of the varieties you find in your market. The unsalted butter (or oil) specified in this recipe is important to the proper sautéing of the mushrooms. The object is to sauté them quickly over high heat to drive out the excess moisture so they will brown. The salt in salted butter extracts moisture from the mushrooms, making it more difficult to brown them. Too much liquid, or heat insufficient to evaporate the moisture, and the mushrooms will boil instead of sauté.

Washing Mushrooms

Washing mushrooms is an important and often debated technique. There are those who say that mushrooms should never be washed, but merely brushed with a mushroom brush, or simply wiped with a damp towel, for if washed they will become waterlogged. Anyone trying these techniques on large quantities of mushrooms will know that they can be extremely time consuming, and not very efficient at removing all the dirt.

Mushrooms grow in dirt or sandy soil and can be quickly and easily washed to remove all traces of grit without fear of damage. It is most important, however, that the mushrooms be fresh and tightly closed. If the mushrooms are older, and their gills are showing, washing them will waterlog them.

To wash mushrooms, you’ll need a large bowl and colander. First trim away any dried stems and place the mushrooms in a large bowl. Place the bowl under cold running water. As the bowl fills with water, use your hands to agitate the mushrooms. The light mushrooms will float on the surface, while the heavier dirt falls to the bottom. Once the bowl is full, immediately lift the mushrooms out of the water and into the colander. Pour the water out and, starting with a clean bowl, repeat the process. After each washing, feel the bottom of the bowl. When no trace of grit can be found at the bottom, the mushrooms are clean.

Two to three washings taking no more than a total of 2 minutes, are all that is normally required. With this technique, you should be able to wash 1 to 3 pounds of mushrooms very quickly.

If you are sautéing the mushrooms, it is important that they be dry, so once washed, allow them to air dry, or if in a hurry, dry them with paper towels.

Serves6 to 8

Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timeunder 30 minutes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, kosher, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealbrunch, dinner


Taste and Texturebuttery, garlicky, herby, savory, umami


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or light olive oil
  • 1½ pounds mushrooms, washed (see Notes), dried, and quartered
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, chopped, to taste
  • 6 sprigs parsley, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly, ground pepper


  1. In a large skillet, heat the butter over high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add only the number of mushrooms that will cover the bottom of the pan in one layer. Sauté until browned, about 4 minutes.

  2. Add the garlic and parsley and toss or stir quickly. Season with the salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and arrange on a serving platter or in a vegetable dish. Serve hot.



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