BALSAMIC-ROASTED MUSHROOMS WITH SHALLOTS AND TOASTED MARCONA ALMONDS

Excerpted from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen with Scot Jones (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lisa Romerein.

Roasted mushrooms alone can be satisfying, but adding a balsamic reduction and fresh herbs makes them special. Full of earthy flavor and umami, the mushrooms soak up the rich flavor of the vinegar, which becomes even more concentrated as they roast. Serve this as a main course or a hearty side.

MUSHROOMS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds mixed mushrooms, such as cremini and shiitake, stemmed, wiped of grit, and quartered
  • 4 large shallots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into large slices
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup Balsamic Reduction (below)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Reduction (below)
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, hand-torn, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, hand-torn, plus more for garnish
  • 4 fresh dill sprigs, hand-torn, plus more for garnish
  • 4 fresh chives, sliced into 1-inch pieces, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher slat and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup toasted Marcona almonds smashed with a mallet or heavy pan

SERVES: 4

METHOD:

1. To prepare the mushrooms: Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Put the mushrooms and shallots in a mixing bowl and drizzle with the oil. Pour in the balsamic reduction, season with the red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, and turn the mushrooms and shallots over so they are well coated. Spread the vegetables out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are tender and deep brown. Set aside. (The roasted mushrooms and shallots can be prepared a couple of hours in advance, covered, and held at room temperature.)

3. Put a large sauté pan over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is hot, add the roasted mushrooms and shallots, toss in the minced shallot and garlic, and cook, stirring, until the shallot and garlic soften, about 1 minute. Add the sherry and balsamic reduction and cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the mint, parsley, dill, and chives, tossing to distribute them evenly. Season with salt and black pepper.

4. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual plates and scatter the almonds on top. Top with more herbs and serve warm.

BALSAMIC REDUCTION:

Made from the slow reduction of balsamic vinegar and agave nectar, this intensely flavored condiment is tart and thick. Be sure to keep an eye on the syrupy reduction as it simmers to prevent it from burning.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, halved
  • Kosher slat and freshly ground black pepper

MAKES: ½ cup

METHOD:

1. Heat the agave in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it thins out and is warmed, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and shallot and gently simmer, swirling the pan a few times, until the sauce has reduced and thickened to the consistency of maple syrup and coats the back of a spoon, about 50 minutes.

2. Remove the shallot and add a good pinch each of salt and pepper. The reduction can be stored covered at room temperature for up to 3 months.