Home Grill Fails How NOT to Cook Mushrooms

How NOT to Cook Mushrooms

sliced mushrooms in sauté pan

If you like burgundy mushrooms (and who doesn’t?) here’s a cautionary tale of how not to do them.  My girlfriend at the time invited me over to her newly renovated condo for dinner. We had only been dating a short time and it was already abundantly clear that if we were dining in, I’d be the one in the kitchen. This girl did most things exceptionally well but cooking just wasn’t one of them.

Anyway, I had just grilled some beautiful steaks – the finest the commissary offered – and set them aside to rest. To go with our steaks, I had the perfect garlic mashed potatoes ready to go and I just needed to get the mushrooms sautéed for a perfect topping.  We were drinking some wine (as I write these grill fails, I am finding a common theme, all my cooking disasters come after a glass – or  more – of wine) and I had the mushrooms going on high heat with olive oil, butter and garlic.

For some reason, I had the brilliant idea of adding some very fine wine (two-buck chuck, anyone know this stuff?) to the mushrooms. This woman was seemingly impressed by my culinary prowess and sophistication so casually I mentioned that some people liked to use wine as a compliment to the mushrooms. Her response was something along the lines of it sounding great and I, not wanting to miss an opportunity to further impress, decided it would be good to pour a generous splash of wine into the mushrooms as she watched.

Immediately upon pouring wine into the hot oil, I knew something wasn’t right. Truth be told, I had never actually done wine with mushrooms before so I was totally winging it and not prepared for what happened next. We heard a violently loud “Ssssssssss” and then a loud BOOM – like a shotgun blast!  The oil and wine concoction clearly didn’t mix and it splattered everywhere.

Let me be clear: when I say everywhere, what I mean is…EVERYWHERE. I didn’t just make a mess of the stove and counters. Nope, this hit the freshly painted walls, the ceiling, our clothes, and the cupboards in what seemed to be a million droplets varying in size from pin sized to “wow, that’s not coming out.” I was embarrassed and speechless, didn’t know what to say, and could barely muster a “Holy Shit!”  Needless to say, we spent the next hour or so trying to get the wine off the walls while the steaks got cold.

Lesson learned:  Don’t add wine to hot oil unless you want a Rorschach test all over your walls and ceiling… or you need an excuse to paint.  To close this little bit of jackassery out, I know you are all wondering, what happened to the girl?  Well, she got even.  She married me.