- 1 liter white wine vinegar
- 250 ml dry white wine
- 4 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, plus more to taste
- 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 12 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
- 2 bay leaves, plus more for jarring mushrooms
- 1 1/4 pounds wild or exotic mushrooms * See Note below
- Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- Fresh herbs such as thyme and oregano, for garnishing
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and poached (optional)
In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar, wine, salt, crushed red pepper, garlic cloves, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until fragrant, about 10 minutes.
While the pickling brine is simmering, trim the bottoms off of any small mushrooms and brush to remove any dirt. Large mushrooms should be cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.
Add the mushrooms to the brine and place a lid or other heavy heatproof item on top of them to weight them down into the pickling brine. Cook until mushrooms are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove the mushrooms from the brine and lay them on clean kitchen towels to dry for a few hours at room temperature or for up to overnight in the refrigerator. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pickling brine separately. Carefully transfer the mushrooms to a mixing bowl and toss them with more crushed red pepper to taste and enough extra virgin olive oil to generously coat. Pack the mushrooms in sterilized jars and add an additional bay leaf to each jar along with more fresh thyme and/or dried herbs such as rosemary and oregano. Add additional olive oil to form a generous coating on top of the mushrooms so that they are completely submerged. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 months.
If you choose to add shrimp to this recipe, cut the poached shrimp in half lengthwise and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Add the reserved pickling brine and 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. SEason to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with additional crushed red pepper and fresh herbs. Allow to marinate at least 1 hour before tossing with the mushrooms to serve.
Works great as part of a larger antipasti spread or over mixed greens or crostini. We love these spooned over the top of Parmesan Sformato and served room temperature.
Note: We tested this using a combination of large, dense mushrooms (such as king oyster or royal trumpets) and several small mushroom varieties such as brown beech, bunashimeji and/or velvet pioppini.