Earthy mushrooms stand out in a spicy red pepper dressing – a riot of flavor. The condiment base is known in Yoruba as ata din din, a condiment-like sauce common throughout West Africa made from ground pepper, onions, chillies, and sometimes tomatoes. Grill the mushrooms until lightly browned and crunchy, as they absorb much more flavor when they have been slightly dehydrated.
The pickled onion adds crunchiness and acidity, and some fresh herbs give it a refreshing freshness, as well as making a nice side dish. Serve over steamed rice and fried sweet plantains, or reserve as a vegetable filling for moin moin.
|Prep time: 40 minutes||Yields: 4 servings|
|2 pounds mixed mushrooms, such as button, cremini, oyster, maitake and shiitake, cleaned, trimmed and torn or cut into 2-inch pieces, if large||8 thyme sprigs|
|½ cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola|
Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
|1 small red onion, peeled, trimmed and halved lengthwise|
|3 tbs. rice vinegar||1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained|
|2 garlic cloves, peeled||1 (1-inch) piece ginger, scrubbed and cut into slices|
|1 red scotch bonnet or habanero chile, cut in half lengthwise||½ cup chopped fresh mixed herbs, such as cilantro, dill or parsley, or a combination|
Step 1 – Pre-heat the oven to 425F (220C) degrees.
Step 2 – Spread the mushrooms and thyme sprigs in an even layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with ¼ cup oil. Season with salt and, using your hands, toss to coat. Roast, turning the pan halfway through and tossing the mushrooms, until mushrooms are golden brown and crisp along the edges, about 25 to 35 minutes.
Step 3 – Meanwhile, prepare the ata din din: As the mushrooms roast, finely chop half of the red onion and transfer it to a small bowl. Add the vinegar, season with a pinch of salt and set aside to pickle while you continue cooking. Using a food processor, coarsely chop the remaining half onion, the roasted red peppers, garlic and ginger. Alternatively, you can chop each ingredient with a sharp knife.
Step 4 – In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the remaining ¼ cup oil over medium. Add the red-pepper mixture and chile halves to the skillet and bring up to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until any liquid from the vegetables evaporates and the relish turns a shade darker, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt. Remove the thyme sprigs from the mushrooms and add the mushrooms to the red-pepper relish. Stir to combine.
Step 5 – Remove from heat, discard the chile pieces and add in the chopped herbs. Stir to combine. Drain the pickled red onion and top the mushrooms with it. Serve hot, alongside some steamed rice or a grain of your choice and fried sweet plantains.