Simple pleasures

Barbecued mushrooms

  It seems long ago now that we were on holiday on the Greek island of Paxos. Spiros and his Bar Taxidi kept spirits high as I struggled with intense hay fever from the olive trees. 

It was here I first had spaghetti with sea urchins; we watched a young boy dive into the  invisibly clear water and pick them from the sea bed. Eating them there on the beach was one of the greatest meals I’ve ever had. 

It was also on Paxos that we first had mushrooms cooked on a wood fire. It may seem a simple thing, and it is, but the flavour was incredible. There is always a first time and this was mine. 

You can add whatever herbs you fancy to this, but I’d recommend being generous with the garlic and oil. The mushrooms really soak up flavour. Watch them well. Inevitably you will lose a few through the grill, so make sure you have plenty. 

I’d serve these with some rosemary and lemon chicken thighs and definitely outside in the sun.

800g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced, some just halved if you like
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
A lot of olive oil to pour over 
A pinch of chilli flakes
A handful or thyme leaves, oregano, rosemary and parsley to finish 
Salt and pepper 

Marinade the mushrooms in the other ingredients then cook on a hot barbecue, turning occasionally until turning golden.

If you don’t have a barbecue, or a garden, these work well on a furiously hot griddle pan. 

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