I wasn’t sure how to write a post about these two sides. I wondered, should I write a separate post for each? Should I just write about the mushrooms; surely everyone has made onion rings… Maybe not… I don’t know… Maybe just write about the onion rings? Aww the poor mushroom’s feelings might get hurt. That would be sad… They were quite tasty…
In fact I almost didn’t write this post at all but I came to the conclusion that these were worth sharing because they are an easy thing to turn to. These are snack foods or appetizers that you would expect to order at a bar with a kitchen or things you would find on a party-spread. Sure you could buy a jar of marinated mushrooms or grab some off the olive bar but i don’t know about you, but $7.99 per pound seems expensive to me for mushrooms in some olive oil and seasoning! I bought 10 oz. of button mushrooms for $1.99 and had everything else I needed at home to make pretty much the same thing. And unlike many marinated mushroom recipes this one does not require an overnight soak, or even a few hours. You can have these mushrooms ready to serve in about a half hour.
And what else do I need to say about onion rings? We’ve all had ’em and we all love ’em. Well most of us I suppose. I know I do. And there is something about a beer-batter that makes me extra happy. You could certainly use this batter on the marinated mushrooms as well. I did throw a few of my mushrooms in this batter and fry them off and found them quite delicious. I will say it’s not the quintessential batter for mushrooms as it is a bit heavy for them but if I’m already making the onion rings and I’m in the mood for some fried mushrooms I certainly will not make a whole extra batter. I am thinking this batter would also be delicious for making a fish fry!
So I think this will be the first in a series of “bar bites” posts where I talk about appetizer-type-things that I’m not sure how else to fit into this blog. These can be great tidbits to serve at a get-together, snacks during the game, accompaniments to a steak or burger dinner or even a topping for your delicious burger (think a big crispy onion ring on-top of your burger).
This mushroom recipe was created out of a need to get these mushrooms ready to serve quickly. A cold marinade would take a long time (think at least 24 hours) to get the ideal flavor and the texture would never be quite right. I did some research online and in Cook’s Illustrated “Italian Classics” and decided to try a “warm” marinade. Basically you simmer the mushrooms in the marinade to allow the flavors to be taken more readily into the vegetable and to get the tender texture desired. Cook’s suggested adding some re hydrated and finely diced dried porcine to the marinade, which sounds like it would add a ton of flavor, but who keeps those laying around the house? I don’t. While I would love to try that addition eventually, today I was on a mission to use what I already had on hand. I found a few other recipes on allrecipes.com which also used the simmering technique so I decided to concoct my own mash-up of all the literature I had read and came up with what follows. Feel free to up the amount of crushed red pepper for a spicier bite. You will get a lot of flavor in about a half hour from this recipe but I suspect that it will become even stronger if allowed to chill overnight. But that’s really not the point here so go ahead and eat them after they cool to room temperature (just be sure to store them chilled).
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup sesame oil
- ¼ cup olive oil (use ½ cup olive oil if you don’t to use sesame but I like the nuttiness it adds)
- 1 ½ tsp. fine kosher salt
- 1 ½ tbsp. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 ½ tsp. ground dry mustard
- 1 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 lb. small fresh button mushrooms, halved or quartered if large or to preference
- Half a lemon, juiced
- Clean you mushrooms: wipe with a moist paper towel to remove any dirt (do not run under water it will waterlog them)
- In a medium saucepan, combine the first 10 ingredients and stir to combine
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat
- Reduce heat to medium and stir in the mushrooms
- Simmer 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof serving or storage bowl
- Stir in lemon juice
- Allow to cool to room temperature before serving
- Refrigerate for storage (the flavor will get even stronger if you chill for a few hours before serving)
I think my plan all along today was to serve some fried food with burgers for dinner. I did eat some of these mushrooms the way they are intended to be served (cooled down and right out of the marinade) but I did fry a few as I said. I only chose to fry them because I was already making a beer-batter for some onion rings. I chose to toss the onions in the mushrooms marinade for a few minutes while I prepared the oil, etc because another layer of flavor never hurt anyone, right? I’m not sure it was enough time for them to really take up a lot of the flavor but I think if you were to add them in right when you take the mushrooms off the heat and allow the onions to sit in the marinade while it cooled to room temperature, that they would soak up more flavor. I didn’t want to cook the onions with the mushrooms because I wanted the onions to remain crisp. If you were to simmer them, they would loose their shape and crunch.
Anyway… the marinade is NOT necessary for these onion rings. This recipe is based on a Guy Fieri recipe in which the onions are first soaked in buttermilk before going in the batter but I’m not sure if it was worth the 2 cups of buttermilk necessary to do so. If I had it on hand, I would use but I wasn’t about to make a separate trip to the store to buy buttermilk for this purpose. I used a light summer beer this time because I had it in the fridge but I think a medium body beer is better suited for this. Choose an IPA, an amber or a lager for this one, unless you have something else in the fridge. I am curious to try using a pumpkin ale and maybe adding a touch of nutmeg to the dredge and/or batter! What do you think??
Beer Battered Onion Rings
- 4 cups canola oil
- 2 sweet onions (I used Vidalia)
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 tsp. garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
- 1 tsp. fine kosher or sea salt, plus more for seasoning after frying
- 12 ounces medium body beer
- 3 tbsp. grated parmesan (optional)
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F (use a fry or candy thermometer to monitor the temperature)
- Peel the onions and cut into ½ inch thick rings
- Combine 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp. salt and garlic in a shallow bowl
- Combine 1 cup of flour and beer in a medium bowl and whisk to combine
- Separate onion rings from each other
- Dredge in flour, shake off excess, then dip in the beer batter, shaking off the excess again
- Drop carefully into the hot oil and fry in batches (about 1/3 at a time, don’t overcrowd the pot)
- Flip the rings occasionally with a spider or thongs and cook until golden brown
- Remove to a paper-towel lined plate Garnish with parmesan, if desired, while still hot. Otherwise, sprinkle with salt while still hot
So yea, fry whatever you want up with this batter it’s nom nom! I want to try it with a fish fry! I think a tempura batter would be better suited for the mushrooms (as I said this one may be a bit heavy for them or other delicate veggies) so I will tackle that in the future I’m sure- I’ll keep you posted!
Happy snacking 🙂