Giving a Mushroom a Sponge Bath
*Small edit….spell check had spelled “gochujang” wrong….I think I corrected it. 🙂
Every time I introduce a “new to me” ingredient” (like the gochujang in my last post) I get feedback. Some folks find the information very usual and can’t wait to try it on their own. (Gold Star!) There are folks who claim they can’t find the ingredient in their area. (But given how quickly they respond to the original post…I’m guessing that is an excuse not to try something new.) There are folks who think I have been living under rock because they have been using that “new” ingredient all their life. And of course, there are folks who really want to try something new but don’t want to get stuck with some odd ingredient in their house that they use in only one recipe.
Well guess what? (What?) Today is your lucky day. I did something else with gochuchang last night that is going to blow your mind and put your new condiment to use. I made a fun little sauce with gochujang and swiped it on my stuffed mushrooms! As the kids say….BOOM!!! (Actually I think they add some swears to it…your choice). Either way….It was a mouth explosion!!!
Now I’m getting ahead of myself because what I first want to talk about is how to clean your mushrooms. It is a very controversial topic.
Do you wash them? Do you wipe them? Do you leave the filth on them and say dirt don’t hurt? (I remember kids saying that when you’d accidently drop a popsicle on the ground….who wants to waste a good popsicle…right?)
I’ve looked into this topic numerous times and the biggest concerns folks seem to have is that if you wash a mushroom….it will absorb the water. I get the fact that mushrooms hold water pretty easily but if you don’t soak them, they should be fine. (Seriously, they are already like 80% water…how much room do they have to absorb more?)
So I treat my mushrooms like they are getting a day at the spa. (A spa that pampers you makes you shiny and new….and then sticks you in an oven and eats you. It doesn’t get a lot of reviews on YELP.)
First, I put them all in a colander and give them a good once over. Pick out ones that are super mushy or discolored. (Odds are they are going to taste gross or slimy. Great candidates for the compost pile.)
Next, give them a spray of water and a little shake in the colander….and then another little spray…and another little shake. Be gentle. Kind of like a mushroom sponge bath.
I then lay them out on paper towels in a single layer like they are the fun guys at the beach. If you see any extra dirt on them, give them a gentle rub with the towel. (Don’t be perverse about it….you don’t want to make the mushroom feel uncomfortable.)
Sometimes even after all this love, there is still some underlying dirt. This is the time to break out a kiddie toothbrush (one that hasn’t been used) and brush it off gently. You aren’t exfoliating it; you are just giving it a little tickle. (Don’t mess with the gills…we’ll get to those in a second.)
Now pop out the stem but don’t toss them!!! Chop off the tiny part that was touching the dirt. That part of the stem is usually really woody and off-putting in texture.
Peak into the cap. (Ask first….mushrooms have feelings too.) Did some dirt sneak in there? Give it a little wipe. If it is really gilly and black, I use a tiny spoon and scoop out the gills. (This is where it turns into a mushroom castration. Your mushroom probably isn’t thrilled with you right now but at least you don’t make it wear a cone of shame.)
Your mushroom should be pristine and ready to use. Does this seem like a lot of work? Yes but if you play some of that earthy spa music while you do this routine, it can be kind of relaxing for both you and the mushroom. (Do not play any Barry White or Marvin Gaye….because that would be weird.)
So for my “new” recipe, I made my standard stuffed mushroom but added a little kimchi (to stick with last week’s Korean theme) and brushed it with a mixture of gochujang and lemon.
This is a great way to introduce kimchi to someone because it is really subtle and almost is more present it its texture than its flavor. Plus, you get to use up some of your gochujang.
These make a great appetizer but don’t eat too many or you won’t have “mushroom” for anything else in your belly! (The recipe is better than the jokes!)
Kimchi Stuffed Mushrooms with Lemon Gochujang Sauce
1 Pound Button Mushrooms
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup panko
1/2 cup cheddar
1/3 cup kimchi, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp Gochujang
Juice of one lemon
Clean your mushrooms and set your trimmed stems aside.
Add a little sprinkle of salt inside each cap.
Mince up the stems.
In a medium nonstick pan over medium heat, add a swirl of olive oil.
And the minced up stems and shallots. Mix them up with a spatula in the pan and let them cook undisturbed by for about 1 to 2 minutes. You want them to start to just start to brown a little but not burn. Keep an eye on them.
Give them a stir and cook another minute.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Turn off heat and take off the heat.
Add the beaten egg. Mix it in with the stems. (The heat already in the pan should cook the egg.)
In a separate bowl, mix the cheese, panko and kimchi.
Add the mushroom stem mixture and incorporate it all together.
Using a small spoon, stuff the mushroom caps and place them on a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your mushroom.
While the mushrooms are cooking, mix the juice of the one lemon with 1 Tbsp of Gochuchang. Have a pastry brush at the ready because you will brush this on the mushrooms as soon as they come out of the oven.
Ding. Take the mushrooms out of the oven and brush them generously with the lemon/gochuchang.
Serve warm and enjoy!!!
This recipe is my standard. If you aren’t daring enough to try the Korean ingredients, you can make them without the kimchi (add a little more cheese and panko) and just give them a squirt of lemon juice when they come out of the oven.
They’ll look a little more like the following picture.