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Mushrooms get a bad rap, but I take them seriously.  They aren’t just some white sponge on a salad buffet. They aren’t just some blown out topping on a pizza either. They are the first thing I was ever allowed to cut and cook in my mother’s kitchen, where I learned it’s about browning without burning them. It’s about adding the garlic at the perfect time so they marinate in the scent of it. It’s about seasoning them while they’re still hot so the salt absorbs into the flesh.

So why the turnip in this recipe? It adds another sweet earthy flavor to the dish. It adds color. It is an underdog of a vegetable, more so than the mushroom.

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Honestly, I just had one and said why not. That’s how cooking should be sometimes.

Thanks to the early spring in Minnesota, I was able to run outside in the rain and snip chives from Abby’s garden for this dish. If you’ve been there, you know the feeling of cooking from your garden. It’s priceless.

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This is a great side dish or will be perfect heated up under grilled anything! It’s a damn near foolproof pairing for meat, fish or tofu. We brought it as a side dish for Easter. It went well with wine and family.

Marinated Mushrooms and Asparagus Salad
{gluten-free, vegan}

Serves 6 as a side dish

1 pound of mushrooms (crimini or whatever is available), quartered
1 pound asparagus, bottom two inches cut off
1 turnip, waxy skin removed and then shaved thin using a vegetable peeler
1 bunch scallions chopped large
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced thin
a small bunch chives, cut one inch long
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Fill a large pot of water for blanching and bring to a boil. Add salt until it tastes like the ocean.

While you are waiting for the water to boil, coat a sauté pan with oil and turn to high heat. Add the mushrooms to the hot pan and let them sit for a minute to gain color. Shake them every minute or two to brown them on all sides. After five minutes and when they are deeply browned, add the chopped garlic and peeled turnip. Gently toss or stir a few times, then remove from heat and place in a mixing bowl. Add the vinegar and scallions. Toss and let cool.

Blanch the asparagus in the boiling salted water for two minutes. Remove and shock in ice water. Let sit in the ice water to completely cool, about two minutes. Remove and cut each spear in thirds on a bias and add to the mushroom bowl.

Dunk the capers in the blanching water for ten seconds. Remove from water, then chop and add to the mushroom bowl.

Finally add your fresh chives and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper, and then toss one last time. Keep in the refrigerator until served. This will hold up well for three days.

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