I cooked this dish for my daughter, Sam, who was a vegetarian at the time. I put two bowls of pepper garlic mushrooms on the dining table after taking photos and everyone who passed by them — her father, her sister and her friend, David, who was visiting — kept picking from one bowl. Repeatedly. When one bowl was already empty, Sam complained.
It must be the aroma and the color that first attracted them. But after tasting a piece, they just had to have another, and another. Good thing there were two bowls and one was left untouched. Otherwise, well…
I used brown button mushrooms but there is no reason why you may not substitute some other variety. But using anything other than button mushrooms will, of course, affect the preparation method, cooking time and flavor of the dish.
Large mushrooms like eryngii will need to be cut into bite-size pieces. Oyster mushrooms will shorten the prep and cooking time. So will shimeji.
Using rehydrated dried shiitake will lengthen the prep time but will give the dish a lovely umami flavor. Butter may also not be the ideal oil to use with shiitake. Peanut oil or sesame seed oil, or a combination of these two, might be a better idea. I’ll leave it you to decide which mushroom variety to use.
In other words, there are so many ways to cook this dish. The spices and seasonings might be the same but your choice of mushrooms will create a variant that may taste even better than what I created. I am partial to bell peppers because their subtle sweetness adds the perfect balance to the salt and the tanginess of the lime juice. But you may choose another vegetable with a subtly sweet flavor. Snap peas, green peas or carrot will work well too.
Pepper garlic mushrooms
- Wipe the mushrooms to remove any soil attached to them. Cut into halves (or quarters if they are large).
- Heat the butter in a frying pan.
- Saute the garlic, onion and bell peppers for a minute.
- Add the mushrooms to the sauteed vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until the mushrooms are just done.
- Squeeze the juice from half of the lime and stir. Taste. If you want bolder flavors, add the juice from the other lime half. You might need to add salt and pepper to balance the tartness.
- Add the scallions and stir. Cook for another 30 seconds to allow the mushrooms to soak up the flavors.
- Serve the pepper garlic mushrooms immediately.