Another simple one, vegetarian this time, and fun to eat, hot or cold. Not as quick as two minute noodles, but far tastier. And dare I say, healthier. Win-win all round.
Get yourself a couple of packets of regular button mushrooms, nothing fancy-schamcy. Halve/quarter/dice them and keep aside. (Us Indians need to take care to wash them under running water before we cut them, please!)
Now get some garlic. Correction, a serious lot of it. Don’t be scared, it’s good for you, ask any Italian or health site. Peel and chop it, very fine.
Some tomato. And ditto (except for the peeling bit).
Spring onion now, the white part.
Bring out the olive oil. Ladle a nice bit into a non stick pan and turn up the heat. Put in the garlic and onion, sauté them, let them sizzle. Add some red chili flakes and lemon pepper seasoning to taste, as piquant as you like (a common mistake I make as an absent-minded man trying his hand in the kitchen is to add salt without realizing that the seasoning also contains some, so be careful!). If you can lay your hands on a chipotle seasoning, grind some, it gives a wonderful smoky flavor. And then, the chopped tomato. Turn the heat to simmer when the onion-garlic start becoming translucent, or the tomato becomes mushy. Here’s when to shake in some standard Italian herbs – oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, marjoram – and set the pan aside.
Separately, in a large vessel, fill water till halfway and put to boil. Once it starts bubbling, add the mushrooms for about a minute (so that they don’t absorb water and become excessively soggy). Bring them off the flame and empty them out into a colander/sieve. Pat them dry with a paper towel.
And then add them to the pan where the oil & garlic mix is sitting in hot anticipation. Stir the mix.
Pour some extra virgin oil over them so you some to dip into while eating (and hence my name for this dish). You could add some chopped fresh parsley or celery as a topping. Maybe green olives. Some more cracked pepper. Squeeze some lime. Each has its own zing, its own heft, so it depends on what you like. Even sprinkle some parmesan shavings. Or bacon bits (I know this was meant to be veg, but who can resist bacon; can’t you – wink, wink – just pretend?).
Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm. Or put them in the fridge and have them cold. As a starter. Accompanied by crispy toast.
And a dry white wine, nicely chilled. Try it, tell me how it went.
Next time, a main to go with this! 🙂