Friday, January 28, 2011

Mushroom Ketchup

Where? Where? I don't see any mushroom ketchup!

Well, that's because it's ugly. It's there hiding behind the beautifully cooked tofu slices, next to the fresh arugula and sliced tomato. Look closely...there you go. It looks like mashed black beans...or maybe even mud. The taste, however, is a whole different story. It's wonderfully rich, sweet, smooth, and tangy. The closest thing to the flavor would be worcestershire sauce; these two do share several ingredients like shallots, garlic, sugar, and vinegar.

The mushrooms in this recipe add a whole new layer of savory-ness to some of the foods you already love: sandwiches, soups, chili, fries, and burgers.

I first heard of mushroom ketchup from Burt Wolf. (You can read the script from his show on the tomato HERE.) I became fascinated with the idea mushroom sauce, so I began looking up recipes. I adopted bits of the recipes from here and there and came up with this:

Mushroom Ketchup

16 ounces mushrooms (I used button, but you could use any kind)
1 tablespoon porcini salt
1 large shallot
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons sugar
1 cup water
1 bay leaf

Toss the mushrooms and salt together in a bowl. Cover with a towel and set aside for 24 hours. Mushrooms will release most of their water and turn dark. Add the mushrooms (liquid and all) and the remaining ingredients -- save for the bay leaf -- to a food processor and blend until the mixture appears to be liquified. Cover and simmer mixture and bay leaf for one hour. Remove bay and then return cooled mixture to the food processor and blend until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. (This will keep up to two weeks in the fridge.)