Anyone who has lived in or visited England would understand when I say that there’s something about the grub from your local pub that is indescribable. It is comforting, heart warming, greasy and stodgy but it is something that draws you back to your favourite local, time and time again. For me, visiting our favourite local always meant the crispy garlic herbed button mushrooms.
Crispy mushrooms were the first dish that got me started on mushrooms as I really and truly hated them growing up. There was something about their texture that just did not appeal to me, until I ‘accidentally’ bit into one of these little babies thinking they were chicken bites. I thoroughly enjoyed them to the astonishment of my friends, who silently watched me as I devoured each and every bite and it was only after I had literally licked the plate clean that they finally indulged me. I was shocked, yes but I was also hooked.
They became my permanent little staple appetisers at the local pub ever since, and one that I have truly missed since coming to Canada. Why are these not as readily available here? I have no idea. But, the desire to enjoy these drove me to making my own batch. These are now a little regular item on our family menu, whenever I find a fresh batch of small button mushrooms that call out to me.
I adore mushrooms now and I buy them at least once a week, so they are a little regular in our family meals. It’s difficult to fry these on a regular basis, and baking them just doesn’t work as well. They tend to get a little soggy and there is something about the crispy herby mushrooms that is so worth getting the frying pan out for. A simple recipe, that doesn’t even need measuring as it depends on how many mushrooms you would like to make.
A little word of caution – they tend to disappear super fast! I always make extra and they must be eaten whilst they are hot and crispy. By all means, bread them and keep them in the fridge until ready to fry for your guests but no more than 3-4 hours ahead. I have never tried to freeze them ahead, as I think they are the best when made with fresh mushrooms on the day you buy them. That’s my excuse anyways, and I’m sticking with it!
PREPARATION OF MUSHROOMS
Remove the stems and using a mushroom brush, scrub them clean.
I save the stems as I chop them up and use them in anything I’m making on the day, from pasta sauce to a stir fry, or even a curry.
EGGS AND BREADCRUMBS
Fresh eggs, whisked up really well with just a wee bit of salt for seasoning. For the spicier version, for two eggs add 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce. And, they must be breaded twice – the single breaded version (as photographed below) just get soggy and soft instead of crispy as the double breaded ones.
For the Breadcrumbs, I added some freshly chopped up parsley as well as some garlic powder. The spicier version had some turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala mixed in.
The Secret filling – I combined some bread crumbs with garlic mince and filled the hollow insides of the mushrooms with them. For the spiced up version I added some garam masala to that too. Add the filling after the first breading is done, as in when they are at the stage as shown below.
These filled up and breaded babies have been breaded twice and they are ready for the frying pan once the oil heats up (not smoking). I usually do the bread test to check the temperature, just drop a little crust end off a slice of bread into the oil and if it bubbles up straight away, the oil is ready. If it bubbles up and goes brown immediately, it’s too hot. If it sits there floating in the oil, obviously it needs more time.
These are the double breaded garlic mushrooms.
These are the Turmeric and garam masala spiced ones. I loved the deeper colour of these ones and they disappeared off the platter first, before any of the other ones.
Another photograph as I couldn’t decide on which one to choose for the blog. They both looked equally good to me and I so want to reach out and have another one!
This was to show you the difference between the double breaded and the single breaded ones. Its the same number of mushrooms but the single breaded ones were flopped down, greasier and not crispy enough at all.
As you can see, the bread and garlic filling is inside the mushroom and it adds an amazing kick of flavour. I only added a little bit of filling, as in half a teaspoon as many of the button mushrooms were quite tiny, but they pack quite a nice little punch of flavour into these little guys.
The breadcrumbs – these are simple store bought breadcrumbs that I bought from Costco. They have those huge bags of breadcrumbs that you can buy in the breads section, and I usually get one of those as they last a long time and they are superfine. I do buy panko crumbs too but this is one dish where I don’t want to change the tradition of using proper breadcrumbs as it is reminiscent of something beautiful and delicious that carries a lot of pleasant memories for me.
After all, we create history and memories around the table with family and friends, which is only possible with what we put in front of us on the table and share together. For me, this is one of those dishes that I will always enjoy, as is.
A bowl of homemade garlic aioli was our choice of dip with this (recipe blog post coming up), but they are equally good with a Sriracha mayo dip, a ranch dressing or a thousand island dressing. Hope you get to try these and would love to hear how they turned out for you. Hoping this instills the love of mushrooms for someone, as it did for me!