We’ve all seen deviled eggs countless times before, but what about deviled mushrooms? My first encounter was in James Beard’s American Cookery, that wonderful trove of American recipes that date back to when the U.S. was a wee infant. Though the practice of adding hot spices to eggs appears to date back to Ancient Rome, the term “deviled” came into common usage in the US in the late 1700s to early 1800s to refer to any spicy dish.
The index of American Cookery shows a couple handfuls of recipes for foods we used to devil often, including crab, scallops, beef bones, and veal kidneys. They all used either cayenne or Tabasco for flavoring. I ended up making the mushrooms, with a bit less oil and a bit more Tabasco than the recipe calls for; what was considered spicy generations ago is considered mild now.
I thought the mushrooms would go great over egg noodles for a light lunch, but James Beard implied it was more often eaten in the morning. “This was a great breakfast dish when one could still find fresh meadow mushrooms,” he wrote. “They were gathered early in the morning, and served with bacon, toast, and sometimes a broiled tomato.” Such an idyllic image, no? Then again, James Beard’s words usually have the power to make me nostalgic for simpler, earlier times that I’ve never experienced.
Serves 4 as a side, or 2 to 3 as part of a light lunch
- 1 pound cremini or button mushrooms
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Sauté the mushrooms until golden and softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and sherry. Stir until the mushrooms are well-coated and allow them to cook for 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (James Beard says “plenty of pepper”.)
- Serve with toast at breakfast, butter noodles at lunch, or a main dish for supper
Adapted from James Beard’s American Cookery
Other “deviled” recipes to try: