Spicy Smoky Roasted Mushrooms Two Ways

I roast mushrooms often, usually with just extra virgin olive oil and salt, and they’re delicious. Lately I’ve been adding a thing or two to the mix. I may not go back.

Here’s the basic approach: Roast the mushrooms ((and here I’m talking about Agaricus bisporus, the basic button mushrooms; either brown or white will work fine)) by themselves first, no oil, either whole or cut up, at about 325F long enough to dry them out (basically the oven version of the dry saute). This may take anywhere form 15 to 45 minutes, so give them a stir periodically to check the progress.

When the mushroom have given up most of their liquid (ie, there’s not much liquid left in the roasting pan), drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Keep roasting them until they’re shriveled and dark, and you’ll get intensely concentrated flavor. It’s not hard for two people to eat a couple of pounds without flinching.

To make them “smoky” and “spicy” I reached for the Spanish smoked paprika called pimenton and my supply of piment d’Espelette (from Viridian Farms, but you could substitute any hot red pepper).

For the first way, I roasted whole mushrooms to the dry pan stage, then added a chopped leek, pimenton, and piment d’Espelette along with the oil and salt. They went back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so (until the leeks got a bit crisp and the mushrooms got very dark).

The second way was inspired by some sliced roasted mushrooms at Little Bird. Same initial dry roasting, maybe even longer since the sliced mushrooms seemed to release more liquid. But this time I tossed in a diced red bell pepper and a chopped shallot with the extra virgin olive oil, salt, and the smoky and spicy stuff, then back in the oven again.

I couldn’t decide which way I liked best.