From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Spain is a nominally Catholic country. While better than 70% of the population is Catholic, only 20% of that number consider themselves to be practicing Catholics. That being said, the entire country loves a parade and the number of people who turn out to observe religious processions far exceeds the number of those who actually practice the faith. We happened to be in Granada on the 12th of October, a day when many events are celebrated, among them the Feast of the Virgin of Pilar. Part of the celebration is, of course, a procession in which a statute of the Virgin is displayed on a float that's carried on the shoulders of penitents who, throughout the year, practice the cadence necessary for smooth movement of the float through the streets. It is fascinating to see the footwork required to keep the float balanced and on keel. The event, which closes streets in the downtown area, normally occurs in the morning, but on the day of our arrival it was delayed because of rain. By late afternoon the skies had cleared and the procession began its march along the appointed route. As luck would have it, our group, which was a bit behind schedule, hit Granada just as the city streets were closed. That meant our Spanishly late dinner would be even later than usual and the cooking class I had scheduled months earlier was in serious jeopardy. While there wasn't enough time to cover what we had planned to do, we were able to meet with the instructor and some of her friends for a discussion and recipe exchange. It turned out to be a great, if late, night, and many of the recipes, including the one I'm featuring tonight, are the result of that evening. While I may not be able to claim "the dog ate my homework", I think my excuse for missing class is far more original and I know those of you who try this very simple recipe will really enjoy the mushrooms. Here is how they are made.
Champiñones al Aajillo - Chili Garlic Mushrooms...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1/3 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
6 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 small red serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped or 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
2 pounds button mushrooms, trimmed and wiped clean
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Heat oil and butter in a large pan. When mixture melts and begins to shimmer, add garlic, chopped chili or chili flakes and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender. Add lemon juice, black pepper and parsley, tossing until mushrooms are coated. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield:6 to 8 servings.
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