Kitchen Techniques Flavor Naomi Pomeroy's New Cookbook

By Jo Mancuso (OPB)
Nov. 20, 2016 2 p.m.
Pan-Seared Wild Mushrooms with Parsley and Parmesan from "Taste & Technique" by Naomi Pomeroy of Beast restaurant in Portland

Pan-Seared Wild Mushrooms with Parsley and Parmesan from "Taste & Technique" by Naomi Pomeroy of Beast restaurant in Portland

Chris Court

In her striking new cookbook, “Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking,” Naomi Pomeroy specifies exactly how much salt and pepper to use in each dish.

"I don't take the home cook's knowledge for granted," says the chef-owner of Portland's Beast restaurant. "My experience as a self-taught chef makes me a better teacher."

The James Beard Foundation award–winner describes these dishes as "upscale but heart-centered — approachable," organized as building blocks to improve skills and confidence. Tentative home cooks will appreciate her ingredient and equipment recommendations and clearly described techniques, from separating eggs to frying sage leaves. More experienced cooks will find plenty of delights and revelations.

Pan-Seared Wild Mushrooms With Parsley And Parmesan

Start to finish: About 45 minutes | Average

"This is the pinnacle of wild-mushroom season," Pomeroy says of late fall. At farmers' markets, "wild mushrooms are wetter if it's been raining or later in the season. So you need to increase the heat and cook them longer than drier mushrooms, which will be lighter and firmer."

Selecting and preparing vegetables teaches attentiveness, Pomeroy says. At a store like New Seasons, "be a proactive shopper. Ask to see what's in back – 'Can I hand-select?' " She notes that you can often find unusual varieties of cultivated mushrooms (such as oyster and maitake) in grocery stores year-round.

Although many vegetable dishes in the book can be served as the main course, Pomeroy suggests this side be paired with "a simple piece of fish, a crispy chicken thigh or any meat, like a hanger steak." She might accompany the meal with a glass of a fruity white wine or a full-bodied, dry English or Normandy cider.


Pan-Seared Wild Mushrooms With Parsley And Parmesan

Serves 4 to 6

"This is a classic, simple way to prepare mushrooms. There's not a lot to this dish, but its success lies in cooking the mushrooms correctly — that is, allowing them to release their moisture fully and develop some light caramelization. I like to use sherry vinegar to bring out the natural earthy flavor of the mushrooms at the end. It's like squeezing a lemon over the top, but a little more refined." — N.P.


  • 2 pounds wild mushrooms (such as chanterelle or porcini), cleaned*
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of a knife blade
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons aged sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1-1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler

*To clean, cut off the bottom end of the stem if dirt is present. Using a soft cloth or napkin, wipe the surface of the mushroom and then brush it with a stiff-bristled brush if necessary to remove any dirt. Peel the stem with a paring knife and gently scrape off any remaining dirt.


  1. Tear or cut any large mushrooms into quarters and the rest in half. Leave the smallest ones whole. Divide the wild mushrooms into four batches.
  2. Heat a black steel pan over high heat until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until the surface is rippling but not smoking. Add a batch of mushrooms, 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt (depending on how dry your mushrooms are; dry mushrooms may need slightly more salt), and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Be careful not to crowd the pan or you won't get that all-important sear. Lower the heat to medium-high, add a garlic clove, and sauté the mushrooms, moving them around, for 7 to 8 minutes, until they are beginning to color on the edges and the moisture they release evaporates. Add a thyme sprig in the final minute of cooking. All of the mushrooms should be soft and tender with no spongy quality or rawness to them. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a mixing bowl. Pick out the thyme sprig and the garlic and discard. Wipe the pan out with a paper towel and repeat with the remaining oil, mushrooms, salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, and butter, cooking in three batches.
  3. When all of the mushrooms have been cooked, toss them all into a stainless-steel pan and rewarm over medium heat. Drizzle with the vinegar and sprinkle with the parsley. Let cool until barely warm, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss so the cheese melts slightly but still tastes distinct. Serve immediately.

Excerpted from “Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking” by Naomi Pomeroy, copyright 2016 by Naomi Pomeroy; photo copyright 2016 by Chris Court. Republished with permission from Ten Speed Press. All rights reserved.