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Hearty creminis, tiny portabellas grill nicely
Grilled rib-eye with herb-season goes hand-in-hand with sauteed mushrooms. - photo by Regina H. Boone

Steak and sauteed mushrooms go hand-in-hand. But if you're familiar with only the standard white mushroom, it's time to try a heartier-flavored one that pairs great with a grilled steak.

Cremini mushrooms are the brown version of the common white mushrooms. You might find them referred to in recipes as Italian mushrooms.

Mushrooms labeled baby bella are smaller versions of those huge portobella mushroom caps. The baby bellas tend to be a little firmer than the cremini.

When buying whole loose mushrooms, choose ones that are smooth without any dark spots and that are dry to the touch. If they are already in a package, give the package a shake so you can get a good look at all the mushrooms.

Store mushrooms in their original packaging or loosely in a paper bag. They should keep about a week. Never store them in an enclosed container. That can lead to condensation and cause the mushrooms to spoil.

One thing I learned from www.mush is that when choosing mushrooms, "a closed veil under the cap indicates a delicate flavor, while an open veil and exposed gills mean a richer flavor."

Before using mushrooms, wipe away any dirt with a damp paper towel. If you choose to rinse them, do so briefly under cool water. Mushrooms are like sponges and will soak up water. Wipe them dry after rinsing.

Today's recipe pairs sauteed mushrooms and onions with grilled rib-eye steaks.

A key to a good steak is cooking it to the desired degree of doneness. For steaks, I am a medium-rare gal and like that good sear on its exterior.

Expert griller Jamie Purviance once told me that to judge for medium-rare, you touch the tip of your thumb to the tip of your middle finger and then you press the flesh at the base of your thumb above your wrist; that's the firmness of most steaks when they are medium-rare. For medium, press the tip of your thumb to your ring finger.

Rib-eye steaks pack a good flavor and need only a simple seasoning and a simple marinade. Today's recipe gets that flavor with a few tablespoons of olive oil, a few tablespoons of soy sauce and some garlic.


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