(recipe, Diane Morgan, Dan Taggart, Kathleen Taggart, Georgia Vareldzis)
If using the common domestic mushrooms—either the white button varieties or the brown cremini mushrooms—look for tightly closed caps and no soft spots. If using wild or more exotic mushrooms such as chanterelle, morel, oyster, or shiitake, look for plump (as opposed to shriveled) tops and fresh-looking edges. Brown spots or mold will develop on wild mushrooms that are too old; avoid those. Store mushrooms loosely wrapped in paper towels, loosely stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Plan to use mushrooms within two days of purchase.
This recipe is best if cooked right before serving. However, the ingredients can be prepared in advance. Mushrooms can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead, sprinkled with a little lemon juice, and covered with a damp paper towel. Sautéed mushrooms are a wonderful accompaniment to roasted poultry and meats. This recipe is at its best when fresh herbs are used. If fresh sage and thyme are unavailable, use 1 teaspoon each dried sage and thyme mixed with the sherry to bring out more of the herbs' flavors. Substitute red onion or sweet onions (Vidalia or Walla Walla) when in season. Toss this mixture with cooked fettuccine (3/4 to 1 pound), adding a little of the pasta cooking water and 1/2 cup of cream (optional), for a meatless entree or side dish. Use any leftovers as the filling in an omelet.