Marinated Mushrooms in a Bath (Funghi al Bagno)
- 3 to 4 pounds wild mushrooms, such as porcini, chanterelles and hen of the woods (you may substitute 1 1/2 pounds portobellos, 2 pounds shiitake and 1 pound crimini)
- 3 cups good white wine vinegar
- 1 bottle good dry white wine
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 1 stem rosemary
- 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 2 liters extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 quart jars with lids, cleaned and sterilized
Clean the mushrooms of any dirt with a soft brush or a cloth, but do not wash with water. Cut the portobello caps into quarters and cut the stems into 1/2-inch thick rectangles, and set aside. Remove the stems from the shiitake, leave the caps whole and set aside. Halve the crimini and set aside. Pour the vinegar and the wine into a stainless steel, 8 quart saucepan and add the bay leaves, rosemary, chili flakes, peppercorns and salt and bring to a boil. Add all of the mushrooms and, once the solution has returned to a boil, cook for 20 minutes. Drain the mushrooms in a colander, discarding the aromatics, and pour them out onto a stack of kitchen towels to drain and dry well, about 30 minutes.
Divide the mushrooms among the 3 jars, placing 3 or 4 peppercorns and a pinch of chili flakes in each jar. Fill each of the jars with oil to the very top and refrigerate overnight. The mushrooms will absorb oil the first couple of nights, so it will be necessary to "top up" the oil after 3 or 4 days. Seal the jars with the caps and allow the mushrooms to marinate a week before serving. In Italy, these mushrooms could easily rest 6 weeks before they're served. They are, however, ready after 4 days, and could be consumed as early as the first day following their marinating. To serve, bring a jar to room temperature and place some of the mushrooms into a bowl with a little of the oil and a plate of grilled bread rubbed with garlic on the side.
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