Miso-glazed Mushroom Skewers
Coming into the spring this year, I had a schedule and preliminary menus mapped out for the entire Meatwave season. Two months passed into that schedule though with no cookouts occurring as rain consistently halted efforts to host, so it became necessary to scale back my ambitions, but in doing so, I was disappointed in having to wait to try out some recipes ideas I was excited about. One of those were for miso-glazed mushroom skewers, which I decided not to hold for a larger scale gathering and just made them for my wife and myself to enjoy alongside some chicken skewers for a tasty weeknight al fresco meal.
While mushrooms grill up quite well, it's not my preferred cooking method just because I really love them sautéed in butter so much. In this recipe, I decided to try to get some of that richness into grilled mushrooms by way of a glaze whose base was butter. The butter was pretty equally weighted with both brown sugar and miso paste to build a sweet, salty, and savory character that was given additional depth with the additions of soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, and white pepper. A lot of my glaze recipes require a lot of simmering to reduce the sauce to a brush-able consistency, but this one was pretty thick right off the bat, so it only need a few minutes of cooking to mostly meld the flavors.
For both convenience and their ideal size, I tapped the common cremini mushrooms for the job in these skewers. I wanted ones roughly around the same size so they would all cook evenly, so I picked packs that looked like they would deliver on that since my grocery store doesn't have a pick-your-own mushroom option. To prep them, I merely brushed away any dirt and kept the stems in tact since I thought having them in place would make them more secure on the skewer.
I decided to intersperse the mushrooms with scallions and bought a couple bunches of them. I specifically chose scallions that had thick ends with a lot of white and light green parts so I could cut off sections that would skewer up well. I thought the scallions were going to be the bigger challenge to skewer, but it was actually the mushrooms that proved problemsome as they often split when threading them onto my purposefully fat metal skewers. This is one application where thinner skewers probably would have been better to avoid the splitting mushroom issue.
Once all ready, I brought the skewers outside and gave them a light brushing with oil and a seasoning with salt before placing them on the cool side of a two-zone fire. I covered the grill and then waited for the mushroom to cook, checking them every now and then to see if they were sufficiently tender by giving them a light squeeze with the tongs.
Once done, I moved the skewers directly over the fire and brushed them all over with the glaze. I let them cook long enough for the glaze to set, but not so long that it started to burn. This took just a couple minutes with some occasional flipping. Once done, I transferred them to a serving platter for their glamour shots.
This was one of those dishes where I needed more skills in food styling to know how to actually make it photograph well. I struggled with getting good photos and after a couple minutes of trying, I just gave up because I wanted to dig in. Luckily, frustrations with appearance didn't mean there was any issue with flavor as these were super delicious. Readers of this site know I've been overly enamored with miso in recent years—this savory Japanese paste has been showing up in a lot of my recipes—and this was yet another one that only validated my overuse of it. The miso flavor paired incredibly well with the earthy mushrooms, and the sweetness of the glaze really helped make this taste balanced by providing a contrast to all the salt. With the mushroom having such a heavy presence, the scallions were key to inject a bit of freshness with a complimentary oniony sweetness to boot. Both my wife and I totally dug these skewers, and while it would have been nice to have a larger crowd to share them with too, I'm glad I didn't sit on this recipe because it would have been a shame to wait many more months, or even a year, to finally try it out.
Miso-glazed Mushroom Skewers
- Yield 4 servings
- Prep 15 Minutes
- Cook 12 Minutes
- Total 27 Minutes
- For the Glaze
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons white miso paste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- For the Skewers
- 2lbs cremini mushrooms, cleaned
- 24 scallions, white and light green sections cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- To make the glaze: Melt butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk in brown sugar, miso paste, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, and white pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until sauce has slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To make the skewers: Thread mushrooms onto skewers, alternating with 2 pieces of scallions between each mushroom. Brush mushrooms and scallions with oil and season lightly with salt.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Place mushrooms on cool side of grill and cover. Cook mushrooms until tender, reduced in size, and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
- Brush skewers all over with glaze and move to hot side of grill. Continue to cook until glaze has set, about 1 minute per side. Transfer mushrooms to a serving platter and serve immediately.