I love meat but can you believe that I had this meatless salad and nothing else for dinner a few nights ago? It was so tasty and filling. And the butter in the dressing was just superb. But if you have to have meat or fish in your meal, this mushroom salad with lemon butter dressing makes a great side dish too!
You’re shocked. A serious carnivore like me eating a meatless salad for dinner… Sounds unbelievable? Was I sick? No… But with food blogging, you know, you try to be ahead of the seasons and the occasions. We’ve been cooking party dishes for days so that they can all be published way before Christmas. There was too much meat and, one night, I just wanted something really simple. Not simple like pouring hot water into a cup of instant noodles. No. Simple meaning easy to prepare but still lovely and satisfying to eat.
This salad is simple to make — so simple that, at first impression, you’d likely think it’s nothing to get excited about. But don’t let first impressions fool you. It’s so simple and so good you’ll keep it in your recipe file forever.
How “simple” are we talking about here? Saute sliced mushrooms in butter with a little salt and pepper, scoop out, add garlic and more butter to the pan, stir in lemon juice and add more salt and pepper, if needed. That’s your dressing.
Pile torn lettuce in a bowl, scatter onion slices and the sauteed mushrooms on top. Drizzle in the dressing and dig in. And that’s it? Yes, why? Did you expect something really complicated?
Making great dish is not about sophisticated knife skills and fancy plating, you know. Rather, it’s about knowing how to combine ingredients for maximum flavor and texture. And this salad has it all. Filling mushrooms that burst with buttery flavors, a dressing with just the right amount of garlic to tickle the taste buds and fresh lemon juice for a bright tanginess that blends perfectly with the richness of butter.
A few tips though to make sure you’ll get the best results.
1. You need fresh mushrooms. Canned just won’t work because they are already cooked and there is no way they will caramelize well in butter.
2. I used white button mushrooms but other varieties like shiitake and eryngii will be just as good. What I don’t recommend are mushrooms that are so fragile that they turn soggy before they brown a bit. You know, like oyster mushrooms.
3. Although the ratio between butter and lemon juice is adjustable, I prefer a 2:1 ratio — two parts butter with one part lemon juice. I suggest you start with the same ratio and add more lemon juice little by little if you prefer a tangier dressing.
4. And, finally, use garlic sparingly. You want its bold flavor, yes, but not to the extent of drowning the flavor of the mushrooms.
Mushroom Salad With Lemon Butter Dressing
- 200 grams fresh button mushrooms
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 1 large head Romaine lettuce
To cook the mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons butter
For the dressing
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup cold butter cut into small cubes
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Prep the salad components
Thinly slice the mushrooms.
Peel, halve and thinly slice the onion.
Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces, rinse thoroughly and dry in a salad spinner.
Saute the mushrooms
Over medium heat, melt the two tablespoons butter in a large frying pan. Tilt the pan around to cover the entire bottom.
Spread the mushrooms slices evenly in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Leave for about two minutes to allow the undersides to brown a little then cook, stirring often, for another two to three minutes until lightly browned.
Scoop out the mushrooms and transfer to a bowl.
Make the dressing
Peel and grate the garlic.
Add the garlic to the pan drippings and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 seconds.
Off the heat, add the rest of the butter. Swirl the pan until the butter is just melted.
Stir in the lemon juice.
Taste. Add more salt, pepper or lemon juice, or all of them.
Assemble the salad
Pour two tablespoons of dressing into a mixing bowl. Tilt the bowl to allow the dressing to spread to the sides.
Dump in the lettuce. Toss well.
Divide the lettuce among four salad bowls. Top with onion slices and the sauteed mushrooms. Drizzle in the remaining dressing. Serve at once.