Photo by Adam Berkelmans
Provenance of Dish
I came up with this technique when faced with an overabundance of Calvatia gigantea or Giant Puffball mushroom, though any mushroom can be used in its place. It is a great way to preserve the essence of your mushroom(s) for several weeks without worrying about them going bad in the fridge. Use this sauce anywhere you want a salty umami kick with a mushroomy twist - grains, soups, noodles, or drizzled over grilled steak.
2 lbs of mushrooms or mushroom trimmings (use mushrooms with high water content like puffball, white button, cremini, portobello, or oysters, or a mix of any of the above)
1 tablespoon non-iodized fine salt
Clean mushrooms and trim any tough stems. If using puffball mushrooms, peel off the skin and discard.
Break apart mushrooms into 1"x1" sized chunks (button mushrooms can be torn in half or quarters) and put into a large bowl.
Sprinkle over the salt and toss the mushroom pieces with your hands until every piece is coated with salt.
Line a colander with cheesecloth and dump the salted mushrooms into it.
Place the colander into a large bowl. Let sit for 2 hours, then pick up the corners of the cheesecloth and hold them together in one hand and squeeze, squeeze, squeeze the mushrooms, collecting all of the liquid into a pot or bowl. Keep squeezing until all of the liquid has been extracted from the mushroom solids. Discard solids or set aside for another use.*
You can stop here and use the light mushroom extract liquid as-is, but if you reduce it, it becomes darker and stronger in flavour.
To reduce the liquid, pour it into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a strong simmer and spoon off and discard any foam that rises to the surface.
Keep simmering the liquid until it has reduced by half.
Let cool, then transfer to a squeeze bottle or container.
Store in the refrigerator and use up within a month.
*The mushroom solids can be cooked like scrambled eggs, making an excellent vegan egg substitute!