Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"7 Nights of Tapas" Recipe: Garlic Mushrooms

Let's talk garlic. The first two tapas this week feature an inordinate quantity of this stuff. Yesterday, garlic shrimp. Today, garlic mushrooms. Most people I meet, thankfully, seem pretty comfortable with high levels of garlic. It seems to have permeated through an old division between Mr. Meat-and-Potatoes and the Gourmet (who now prefers the moniker Foodie.)

Maybe this happened with the mainstreaming of Italian restaurants in the last few decades. Then came the garlic presses to the suburban kitchen. Then out went the garlic presses (to the back of the drawer) when we all realized what a pain they are to clean. Which brings us to the point: chopping garlic.

After working in a few restaurants, as well as making it through some post-party kitchen soirees, I've firmly embraced the "karate chop" method.

7 Nights of Tapas:
1. Garlic Shrimp
2. Garlic Mushrooms
3. Spiced Roasted Almonds
4. Garbanzo Beans with Chorizo
5. Marinated Black Olives
6. Figgy Manchego and Jamon Toasts
7. Spinach (Almost/Vegetarian) Empanadas

Continue to Recipe...

The garlic karate chop works best if you've got a considerate partner in the next room willing to howl out 'huy-yah' screams when the fist hits the chopping board. Although, worries aside, the method still works just fine on its own.

Garlic "Karate Chop"

Get out your chef's knife (for some reason I've seen people using a little paring knife...I think the logic is small food = small knife) and chop of the ends off the clove. Gently push down on the clove with the flat part of the knife to loosen the garlic skins. Makes it easier to peel off.
After its peeled, sprinkle some salt on your board. That way the garlic juices don't get into the board, but into your food when you brush the salt into the dish.

Hold the knife flat on the clove (make sure the clove is stable and not too roly poly). With a nice fist, give it one or two good smashes. Cue the karate chop noises from your cooking companions.
Can cover your hand with a kitchen towel for this. Sometimes your hand can get little tiny cuts if you nick the blade, which don't hurt in and of themselves, but the salt likes to get in them.

You should have a nicely smashed garlic clove now.
Hold the end of the clove with one hand and mince it with the other. Done.

It looks like a lot of pictures but takes 10 seconds, promise.

Garlic Mushrooms (Champinones al Ajillo) 
Time 30 mins
Serves 4
Adapted From Spain Recipies
Eat with a nice sherry

1 lb (500g) mushrooms or less
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb lemon juice
3 Tb dry sherry
1/2 tsp crushed dried chili peppers
1/4 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
flat leaf parsley

Clean up those mushrooms. (Stick in a big bowl of water, dunk a few times to shake loose the dirt, then wipe off remaining dirt with a clean kitchen towel.) Cut into quarters. 

Heat oil over medium and before it gets too hot start the mushrooms cooking for a few minutes. Add the garlic, lemon juice, sherry, chili peppers, and paprika. Stir and cook another 5 - 8 minutes. Rip up some parsley and eat with a nice rustic bread to sop up the juices.

Dobrou Chut'/ Enjoy!
-- Jo


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