Mushroom carpaccio is not your typical Thanksgiving side dish, which is why I am recommending it. Brightly flavored with parsley and lemon, it’s the perfect counterpoint to all the rich foods that dominate our national holiday meal: those buttery mashed potatoes, that sweet, sweet potato casserole, the brussels sprouts with bacon (or in my case, pancetta), the roast turkey and stuffing. To say nothing of whipped cream-dolloped pumpkin pie.
I developed this recipe for a feature on Italian winter vegetables that you’ll find in the December 2015 issue of Cooking Light. It’s part of a series that the magazine is doing on vegetables around the world. (I have articles in both my favorite cooking magazines right now; see the Dec/Jan issue of Fine Cooking for a piece on Italian Christmas cookies.)
The other recipes in my CL vegetable feature are Wilted Escarole with Lemon and Garlic, Roasted Balsamic Radicchio with Pancetta and Walnuts, Fennel and Radicchio Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette, Roasted Cauliflower with Anchovy Sauce, and Ribollita with Poached Eggs. Sorry, friends, but you’ll have to pick up a copy of the magazine for those!
Among the attributes of this recipe: it requires no cooking so it doesn’t take up space on the stovetop or in the oven. The mushrooms are sliced paper-thin and seasoned with olive oil and lemon juice, plus a shower of gremolata (minced parsley, lemon zest, and garlic) and a scattering of shaved Parmigiano. The components can be prepped ahead of time, and it takes about 2 seconds to assemble.
In a perfect world (in my perfect world, anyway), the carpaccio would be made with fresh porcini mushrooms. But try finding those in the suburbs of northern Virginia. On the upside, button (white) and cremini (brown) mushrooms are always available and their mild flavor makes a great vehicle for the other zesty ingredients. Use your best olive oil and good Parmigaino-Reggiano cheese to really make this side dish shine.
This salad pairs beautifully with the rich foods of fall and winter--roasts, stews, and braises. You could use a mandoline to slice the mushrooms, but a sharp knife will do fine. This recipe is featured in my article "Italian Vegetable Cooking" in the December 2015 issue of Cooking Light.
- 6 large button or cremini mushrooms, or a mix; 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter (sometimes called 'stuffers')
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground white pepper, plus more for garnish
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Gently wash and dry the mushrooms. Trim the bottom ends, leaving the stems intact. Cut the mushrooms vertically into very thin slices. Arrange them on a platter so they overlap slightly.
Put the parsley, lemon zest, and garlic cloves on a cutting board and chop them together to a fine mince (I use a mezzaluna). Transfer the mixture to a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil until emulsified.
Drizzle the dressing over the mushrooms and sprinkle the parsley-garlic mixture on top. Scatter the shaved parmigiano over everything. Let the mushrooms sit at room temperature 15 to 30 minutes before serving (no longer or the mushrooms will begin to release liquid).