When I was a child, I hated mushrooms. I’m not sure hate is a strong enough word so I’ll use it three times. I hated, Hated, HATED them! I never understood what people liked about mushrooms. And that was before I learned they were a fungus! That all changed in college when someone came over to my apartment where we were grilling and tossed a handful of white button mushrooms on the grill. I hadn’t voluntarily eaten a mushroom in more than a decade at this point, but there I was, picking up one of those little morsels and tossing it in my mouth. It was a life changing moment. No longer was the mushroom the fungus among us. It was fabulous. It picked up the smoky flavor from the grill because the mushroom is basically a sponge. It also rendered out a lot of the liquid that helped to intensify the flavor.
Over Memorial Weekend, in lieu of the annual pig roast due to an injury in the family, we made these grilled pizzas. I asked what everyone wanted in terms of toppings and my dad requested mushrooms. I grabbed a package of the white button mushrooms and felt very nostalgic as I thought back to college. I had planned on grilling them just like I did when I was in school, but then I saw the garlic infused olive oil I was using on the pizza crusts and the rest, they say, is a match made in heaven. Or something like that!?
This recipe is so simple that I’m not going to go into a ton of detail because there is absolutely nothing to this and it’s beyond vegetarian and into the vegan inner circle.
Garlic Grilled Mushrooms:
1 package white button mushrooms, brushed free of dirt or peeled (I peeled these)
Garlic infused olive oil
I love keeping a bottle of garlic infused olive oil around at all times. It’s perfect when I want to add that little something extra to a flavor profile:
Brush the dirt free from the mushrooms or peel the skin away from cap. OK, prep’s done. Now go light a raging hot fire. See, told you it was simple.
Dunk each mushroom into the garlic infused olive oil:
Place the garlic mushrooms on the grill upside down and close the lid:
In a few minutes the mushrooms will look like this:
Here’s where I’m confused every time I grill or cook with mushrooms. Where does all that liquid come from in the picture above? It’s not the oil. These things are essentially sponges. Dry sponges at that. It’s one of those mysteries of the universe like who really killed Kennedy, where do all the missing socks go and why do the Cubs suck.
Once the garlic grilled mushrooms have browned up over 4-5 minutes, depending on heat (I had this grill at about 500 degrees), knock them onto their sides or flip them over if they are stemless:
If they are stemmed, rotate the mushrooms to the other side after one side is grilled. Total grilling time is about 10 minutes. Here they are about ready to come off, still oozing with juice:
The garlic mushrooms should look like this when they are done:
That’s it. Nothing fancy, just a fantastic appetizer.
One word of caution, they will be EXTREMELY hot when they first come off the grill. All that juice that somehow appeared from another dimension is practically boiling, so let them cool for a few minutes before going to town.
But how do they taste? The mushrooms pick up a hint of garlic and smoke, much of the liquid is rendered out, which intensifies the flavor. I call that a win!
If you want to skip the infused olive oil, you can grill them naked as I did with these below or even regular olive oil and then sprinkle with your favorite rub. If you go without the oil, they get better grill marks:
While no animals were harmed in the making and photographing of this vegetarian/vegan recipe, I’m sorry to say these mushrooms didn’t make it. I ate the whole package!
- 1 package white button mushrooms, brushed free of dirt
- Garlic infused olive oil
- Brush the dirt off the mushrooms with a paper towel or skin them
- Build a raging hot fire
- Dunk the mushrooms into the garlic infused olive oil
- Place the mushrooms, cap side down on the hot grill (500+ degrees)
- After 4-5 minutes push them over to cook on the side, and allow the juice to run off, or flip over the stemless mushrooms
- After another 4-5 minutes, remove from the heat and allow to cool