There are a lot of fried rice recipes in Mark Bittman’s repertoire, between How to Cook Everything, the Minimalist columns, and now the Food Matters Cookbook. It makes sense: fried rice is delicious, versatile, a fridge-clearing dinner that can be as simple or involved as you like. But this one from FMC is my favorite–the crisp browned mushrooms complement the brown rice I used perfectly. Click “more” to check out the recipe.
It starts with cooked beans, and Bittman writes that it “perfectly illustrates why you should cook large batches of grains and beans keep them on hand in the fridge” (there is a variation, Scrambled Rice and Beans with Salsa, that also looks great). He’s right–if you’ve got a few veggies and a batch of grains on hand, a filling, hearty and nutritional dinner can’t be far off.
Take a pound of mushrooms, sliced. Heat a bit of olive oil in a deep skillet, put in the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper (don’t overdo it on the salt) and cover until the mushrooms have released their juices. Then, you remove the lid and crank the heat way up until the water cooks off and the mushrooms start to brown.
This, my friends, is my new favorite way to cook mushrooms. In stir-fries, mushrooms can get really soggy but this makes them nice and crispy. How did I not know about this method? These mushrooms! They were incredible!
So, you get those mushrooms nice and crispy, and then you add two cups of cooked rice. Now, here’s where I departed from the recipe a little bit. I had white and brown rice, the results of ordering Chinese takeout, so I used that. It was mostly brown, I swear. Anyway, you let that heat up a bit, and even crisp a little, then scramble in two eggs. Once those are set, you add some soy sauce and top with scallions and you’re in business. I didn’t have scallions, and the recipe doesn’t specifically call for Szechuan Gourmet* leftovers, but that’s what I had on hand so some sauteed string beans also made it into the mix.
Grains and Mushrooms, Lightly Scrambled: best fried rice ever, and simple to boot.
*Do you live in New York? Have you been to Szechuan Gourmet? No?! You must go. Szech Gourmet food porn here. Pro tip: their lunch special is the best deal in midtown, but make sure you add an order of the spicy cucumber salad. If you’re a real weirdo like me, you can save the oil that pools underneath the cucumbers and use it for a mean fried rice. Oh, and here’s Bittman himself on Szechuan Gourmet.