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Make mushrooms better than main dish

Marinated artichokes and mushrooms, in my mind, are kissing cousins.

Both go so well on antipasti platters alongside cured meats. And like olives, they exist in a netherworld of deliciousness that defies neat culinary classification. Vegetable? Fruit? Fungus? Who cares?

I just know that when I’m browsing an “olive bar” at grocery stores featuring them, I reflexively reach for the marinated artichokes and mushrooms, too. Before olive bars existed, marinated mushrooms packed into little jars kept company on store shelves with the artichokes and their ilk.

I don’t even need an actual meal once I’ve started feasting on the oil- vinegar- and herb-steeped delicacies with some crusty, artisan bread and fine cheese. It’s easy for me to see why marinated mushrooms made food writer Daniel Neman’s list of appetizers that are better than a main course. Here’s how to make them yourself for a fraction of olive bar prices.

Tribune News Service photo

Marinated Mushrooms

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 pound small white button mushrooms, washed and trimmed

Salt, to taste

2 cups dry white wine

1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Place the coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until seeds are fragrant. Remove to a plate to cool. Grind to a powder in a spice grinder, with a mortar and pestle or by carefully crushing with a cast-iron skillet.

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until soft but not browned, for about 4 minutes. Reduce heat if they begin to color. Add the thyme, coriander, bay leaf and pepper. Cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with the salt. Add the wine and tomato paste; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until soft, for about 10 minutes more. Cool mushrooms in cooking liquid.

To serve, spoon mushrooms and some cooking liquid into a bowl, drizzle with the lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from “Bistro Laurent Tourondel” by Laurent Tourondel and Michele Scicolone.