Dinner Tonight: Bittman's Sautéed Mushrooms Recipe

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Dinner Tonight: Bittman's Saut\u00e9ed Mushrooms Recipe

The way I see it, sautéed mushrooms should be as simple as possible. With only olive oil, heat, and the most pedestrian white mushrooms one of the more intriguing kitchen alchemies occurs, and the kitchen is filled with glorious smells: savory, meaty, rounded, earthy. Apparently, mushrooms are great carriers of the fifth taste, umami, which is often described with those very words. Perhaps the only greater sauté smell is bacon—which, actually, you could probably use by rendering some to replace the oil, perhaps removing the cooked bacon to chop and add in later. But this recipe goes with a simpler preparation, true to Mark Bittman’s minimalist style in How To Cook Everything, and all the ingredients end up tasting of themselves—one of the higher compliments you can give a recipe.

When the mushrooms are tender, the recipe adds a splash of white wine to complement the earthy flavor with sweetness and acidity, then finishes with a bit of chopped garlic and parsley, cooking only for a minute so that the garlic is just softened enough to lose its bite, but still distinct, and the parsley remains bright. He recommends letting the mushrooms sit for an hour or so to cool and let the flavors develop; even though I ate most of them long before this apparent flavor development stage, the ones that were actually left were indeed delicious.


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound assorted mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper


  1. 1.

    Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add mushrooms and a pinch or two of salt to coax out the moisture. Cook 10-15 minutes, or until tender.

  2. 2.

    Add the wine and let it bubble away, about 1 minute.

  3. 3.

    Turn heat to low, add parsley and garlic, and cook for one minute longer. Remove from heat, transfer to a plate or shallow bowl, and allow to cool about 1 hour.