Friday, December 14, 2012

Mushrooms With Garlic, and Pasta with Dried Tomatoes

"Champiñones al ajillo", Mushrooms with garlic, is a great Spanish dish. It's really easy: You need champinion mushrooms, a cooked potato with skin, three or four cloves of garlic, two dried chilies, fresh or dried parsley and an enormous amount of olive oil. If you want you can also use bits of cooked chicken, shrimp and other stuff.

Mushrooms in Olive Oil
Mushrooms and potato in olive oil.

Clean the mushrooms, and cut the potato into bite-sized pieces. Slice the garlic cloves lengthwise and remove the center stalk. Remove the chili seeds (or not, if you want it a bit hot). Put all ingredients in a small pan or (as here) in an earthenware pot. Everything should barely fit in the bottom. Pour in enough olive oil to almost cover — that is a lot of olive oil, believe me. Don't panic.

Put the pot on a burner and let everything cook for, oh, fifteen minutes or so. Add plenty of salt and pepper towards the end and finish with parsley. Bring the pot to the table and eat as a main or side dish, with white bread to soak up the oil.

Now, there's a lot more oil than you really want to eat at once, so save the leftover oil in the fridge. It's full of flavour and makes a good base for a pasta sauce. It'll keep for days at least, probably longer, so no need to hurry.

My current favourite pasta with this oil (sorry, no picture) is simple: Cook some spaghetti. Soak a bunch of dried tomatoes in hot water for a while, and cut into largish pieces if needed. Take a boiled potato (yes, I like the potato-oil combination) and cut into pieces. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the tomato and potato and cook them until they just start to change colour a little. The oil is flavoured already so no need to add anything else. Once the pasta is almost done, mix it in with a little of the cooking water and let it cook in the sauce for a little while. Salt and pepper to taste.

Two delicious dinners in one, with minimal effort and great results.


  1. Nice to see some mediterranean cuisine on your blog!

    I just realised again that I'm in one of the best places when it comes down to gastronomy (Wine, Olive oil, sea, and overall mediterranean environment). My region has plenty of those. If you like wine, watch for "Penedès".

    The village of my family is on the Pyrenees and has a long tradition on mushroom picking.

    I have some desire to learn cooking, but my laziness always overcomes this desire.

    Greets from Spain.

  2. George, that's a good place to be! Along Japan and a few other places, Spain is one of the great food areas of the world. We make paella quite often at home too, and I'm partial to Spanish-style omelettes. Also, Rioja is one of my favourite types of wine (not that I know much about wine in general). I've always thought I'd live in Spain some day.

    You should try cooking! It's a great way to take your mind of things, and it's amazingly satisfying to make something that turns out just right.


Comment away. Be nice. I no longer allow anonymous posts to reduce the spam.