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by Wolfgang Puck
Grilled Mushrooms with Garlic Butter En Papillote
It's often said that side dishes have the ability to make a meal especially memorable. Think about the times you've been delighted by an unexpected twist on the usual steamed vegetables, and you'll recognize there's some truth in that observation. And it holds true just as well during grilling season as it does during all those other months when we're cooking indoors.
Yet, in the same way that many people fall back on vegetables steamed in the microwave during autumn or winter, outdoor cooks rely too often on the tried and true. They'll slice up summer produce like zucchini, eggplant, or bell peppers, slick it with olive oil, and drape those slices on the grill.
Don't get me wrong. I love grilled vegetables. But let's admit it: They're becoming a bit of a summertime cliche, aren't they? Not only that, but they can be distracting. Grilling six steaks for an outdoor dinner party is fairly easy to control and get good results. But when you slice enough vegetables to go with those steaks, you're suddenly distracted by many little items that you struggle to find room for on the grill and then have to keep watching and turning diligently to keep them from slipping into the flames or scorching.
So, let me propose a simpler way: Grill your vegetables en papillote.
Most people know this method, which means to cook "in paper," as an indoor method that involves sealing delicate seafood and vegetables in individual-serving packets and baking them in the oven, which steams the ingredients while sealing in their aromas and juices. Many cooks today use aluminum foil instead of the traditional parchment paper; and foil's sturdiness and its resistance to burning makes it perfect for adapting this method to grilling vegetables.
I especially like to cook mixed mushrooms this way, and share one of my favorite recipes for them here. But the method also works well for other vegetables cut into uniform, small, quick-cooking pieces, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and onions, as well as thinly sliced carrots, broccoli florets, or whole snow peas, cooked individually or as a medley. Just be sure to include butter or oil and seasonings, and to put the packet on the grill in time for the vegetables to finish cooking along with the main courses. (Allow 8 to 12 minutes for mushrooms, depending on the heat, or up to 15 minutes for hardier vegetables.) As I also caution in the recipe, take care to keep your hands and face clear of the steam when opening the packet.
The result will be the easiest vegetable side dish you've ever enjoyed when cooking outdoors: moist, tender, flavorful, and certain to make your grilled meals memorable.
Grilled Mushrooms with Garlic Butter en Papillote
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Grilled Mushrooms with Garlic Butter en Papillote Ingredients
1 pound mixed cultivated or wild mushrooms (such as button mushrooms, portobellos, cremini, shiitake, and chanterelles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped Italian (flat-leafed) parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Grilled Mushrooms with Garlic Butter en Papillote Recipe Instructions
Prepare a fire in an outdoor grill.
Meanwhile, wipe all the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. With a small, sharp knife, trim and discard the stems of the mushrooms as necessary.
Cut the mushrooms into uniform slices about 1/2 inch thick, and toss them together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the butter, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley until smoothly blended.
Set aside at cool room temperature.
When the fire is hot and you're ready to cook the meal, tear a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil about 2 feet long.
Place it flat on a work surface and arrange the mushrooms about one quarter of the way along its length.
Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Dot the butter mixture all over the mushrooms.
Fold the longer, uncovered side of the foil over the mushrooms to enclose them, and then tightly roll and crimp the edges of the foil together to seal in the mushrooms.
About 8 minutes before the main course is done cooking on the grill, clear a space on the cooking surface for the foil packet.
Cook until the foil puffs up, 8 to 12 minutes depending on how hot the fire is.
Using a large spatula, carefully transfer the foil packet to a serving platter.
With the tip of a long knife, carefully slit open top of the foil, observing caution to avoid the steam that will escape.
Use a long-handled spoon to serve the mushrooms.
Grilled Mushrooms with Garlic Butter En Papillote Recipe by Wolfgang Puck
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