I had a craving for pickled mushrooms yesterday. I’m not sure why as I’m not particularly fond of them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike them. In fact, I am very hard pressed to find a pickled item I don’t like, but I don’t usually find myself saying, “Boy, what I could really go for right now is a bowl of pickled mushrooms!” If I see them on a salad buffet or antipasto display I might grab a couple, and occasionally I will ask for them in a Bloody Mary, but other than that they rarely cross my mind. Needless to say, the craving hit and I found myself lacking in the pickled mushroom department. Searching through the fridge I found no less than 6 types of pickles of the cucumber variety, some homemade, some store bought. There were also pickled jalapenos, sauerkraut, homemade Dilly Beans, homemade pickled beets, numerous preserves and no less than 5 types of mustard,and even a jar of pickled garlic but nothing resembling a pickled mushroom. That only left me with 2 options both involving me getting off my butt and heading to the store. Option #1 I could run to the store and pick up a jar of pickled mushrooms. It would be the easy way out, but most of the store brands are pretty crappy. Option #2 would be to run to the store, gather up the ingredients and make my own. While the pull of Jet Li’s “Hero” was strong, I decided I could watch TV anytime so I chose option #2. The following recipe is the result of my craving. While these mushrooms tasted good by the time they had chilled. I am going to let them sit in the fridge for a couple more days before sampling them again. This should allow the flavors to develop a little more and round out. Enjoy!

Pickled Mushrooms

2 pounds White Mushrooms, the smaller the better
1 pint Cider Vinegar (also try Malt, Sherry, or White Wine Vinegar)
1 1/2 tsp. Fennel Seeds
1 tsp – 1 Tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes (amount depends on the heat you like)
1/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 each Red Bell Pepper
4 sprigs Fresh Tarragon

Roast, peel, seed, and julienne the red pepper. Brush any dirt off the mushrooms, trim off the stems (for personal use I add the stems back in) and cut any large mushrooms in half (anything over 1 1/2 inches). In a large, non-reactive pan combine the vinegar, fennel, pepper flakes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and add the mushrooms. Cover, reduce heat to a hard simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the roasted pepper strips and the fresh tarragon. Allow to cool slightly then place in a large glass jar and refrigerate. Allow at least 8 hours for the flavors to develop. Better yet leave the mushrooms for 3-5 days before sampling.