Did you know that Pennsylvania is the mushroom capital of the US? Yes, apart from being the sultans of snow we are also apparently the monarchs of mushrooms! Mushrooms are grown in former coal mines of Pennsylvania where the damp and dark environment provides an ideal condition for their growth.
Just as a sideline, there are countless ways to say mushrooms in Spanish. In Spain they are called champiñones (from the French champignons), in other Spanish speaking countries they are called setas. In Panama where I grew up they are called hongos! Out of all the names, hongos is the least appetizing, since it literally translates to “fungus.” Now, who wants fungus tapas? Anyhow, just thought I would share.
This tapas dish comes from the Andalusian region of Spain where sherry is produced. If you don’t have sherry, don’t worry. I use port and you really can’t tell the difference. I must warn you in advance, this dish is not a quick one. It takes a bit of patience, but believe me, it is certainly worth it. We love it so much at home that it has almost become a weekly Sunday tapas experience. The reason why it takes so long to cook is because you have to wait for the mushrooms and the onions to really cook down, absorb the liquid and for the sweetness of the onion to come out.
Surprisingly enough, these mushrooms are also great cold. I am not kidding! I must say my husband disagrees with me on this one. It is definitely a healthy, vegetarian tapas dish. You can certainly make a meal out of these by using a larger piece of bread and pairing it with a salad. I like to use French bread for a tapas style serving and multi grain bread for a heartier portion.
Mushrooms are rich in nutrients including zinc, B vitamins and folate among others. They are more nutritious eaten raw; nevertheless this is still a very healthy dish. I will definitely be posting other mushrooms tapas in the coming months.
If you want to bring the flavors of Spain to your home I have several great recipes to share with you.
Prueba de cerdo is a classic tapas dish of thinly sliced marinated pork with Spanish paprika that is grilled fast and is so easy to make.
Spanish chorizo in red wine sauce is a great dish to pair with some tempranillo or rioja.
Croquetas de jamón y pollo take a little bit of time but you will be rewarded with a delicious appetizer that is crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Empanadas are savory turnovers filled with meat or cheese. Most are fried but I like to cheat and bake mine using pre-made pie crust. I think this is a slightly healthier option than frying and is so easy.
This recipe was adapted from Penelope Casas’s book: Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain
Mushrooms in Sherry Sauce
Here is a classic Spanish tapas dish for mushrooms in sherry sauce with garlic. This is similar to champiñones al ajillo but with the addition of the sherry. Enjoy with a nice red wine and some crusty bread for dipping in the sauce.
- 10 oz. button mushrooms sliced
- 2 Tbsp. butter sweet butter or vegan butter
- 1 onion small, diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 3 Tbsp. sherry or port wine
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice fresh squeeze juice
- 4 Tbsp. parsley chopped
Salt and pepper to taste.
- In a non stick pan melt butter and add the onion. Stir fry on low until the onion is translucent and very tender. Do not brown the onions. This will help bring out the sweetness.
- Add the garlic, mushrooms and sherry or port and cover. Stir occasionally. Cook slowly until all the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are fully tender.
- Add the fresh parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
- Toast your baguette and serve warm.