Monday, January 04, 2010

#MushroomFail

Well, this pickled mushroom recipe bombed. In fact, my mushrooms turned out like barely edible little salt bombs. The recipe, which I followed precisely, called for two tablespoons of plain non-iodized salt to one pound of mushrooms. What went wrong here? Is there any way to fix this?

By the way, the recipe, from Anne Volokh's The Art of Russian Cuisine, is very similar to this Deb Perelman recipe, which also turned out unbearably salty when I tried it a few years ago. (Perelman is behind the usually foolproof Smitten Kitchen blog.)

12 comments:

m.v. said...

try soaking it in water before you throw it away, change water a few times, maybe it will draw some salt out.what do you have to lose :-)

Maya said...

Aww, what a bummer!

shushka said...

Oh no! That must be so disappointing :( I had high hopes for you - I wanted to try the recipe myself!

Lo said...

Aww -- and I was watching so intently and hoping for a score on this one.

Let us know what you've decided to do.

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

m.v.--Thanks for the tip--I'm trying it out.

Maya, shushka & Lo--Yes, I was hoping this would be The One. There's actually another recipe for pickled mushrooms in Volokh's book that's quite different from this one. I might give it a shot.

Maria said...

Hi Yulinka,

I've been following your great blog for a while now, although I've never commented before, but now I just can't resist. I'm also from the former Soviet Union, and I distinctly remember 2 kinds of pickled mushrooms: the salted ones and the marinated ones.

The marinated mushrooms are made with the vinegar-based marinade and can be eaten as is when done. However, the salted ones (where you use herbs, salt and no added liquid) are incredibly salty by themselves, as you say. But the right way to serve them (at least according to the St.Petersburg side of my family) is with thinly sliced fresh onions and sour cream. Sounds dubious, but it really is incredibly delicious. I can't remember the precise recipe for salting, but the basic idea is just as you describe. So I wonder if you should dress them up a bit with sour cream and onions instead of tossing :)

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

Maria--Thanks so much for your comment! I'm pretty relieved that I may not have screwed this up after all. Growing up I've always had the marinated vinegary mushrooms--in fact, I don't know if I've ever tried the salted variety. Anyway, I follow m.v.'s advice and added some water to the brine. Two days later, the mushrooms were still salty..but edible! I ate some with sour cream tonight, and they weren't bad!

evelina said...

Yulinka, I also just had a pickling fiasco involving boiling water and untempered glass--just like the Old Country!
Anyway, I'm sure you have a recipe for marinated mushrooms, but this one comes from my mom, without her characteristically vague directions (her recipe for borscht begins, 'First, cook some meat.'):
"Into a 4 (or so) quart pot of boiling water add 4-5 cloves, about 10 black peppers, 2 bay leaves, sugar, salt and white vinegar. The brine should taste really sweet and sour and a little salty (the taste gets less harsh when it cools down). Remember the taste. Add mushrooms and a few peeled cloves of garlic into the boiling brine and let it boil for about 2-3 min. Take off and let it cool, then place in the refrigerator. If you do not think it has enough of any of the ingredients, you can always add, boil and cool again."
I'm in India celebrating Stariy Noviy God next week; thanks for your mayonnaise-free Salat Olivye tips!

Lo said...

Ooh. Glad I checked back. So, it sounds like you might have solved the salty mushroom issue.

Did they taste a bit like regular old canned mushrooms once you tamed the salt content? (Can't link back to the recipe, I get an error...)

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

Lo--Canned mushrooms taste kind of bland and vaguely salty, from what I remember. These are definitely saltier and more flavorful. I would compare them to capers.

irina said...

Yulinka, do you have a recipe for borscht? I'm on a beet kick right now...

Julia (alias Yulinka Cooks) said...

Irina-I have two borsch recipes on the blog. Try this one: http://yulinkacooks.blogspot.com/2008/10/borsch-20.html

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