Well I don't know about you but here in the "Mays mansion" :> - you just don't serve steaks without sautéed mushrooms. It's kind of a law... they're a "must go-together" like mashed potatoes & gravy, corned beef & cabbage or cake & ice cream. We eat steaks more often in the summer because the barbecue is available, and sometimes we spend big bucks on high-end cuts and sometimes we get the cheap ones. But no matter what kind of steaks or how or when you cook them - they're ALWAYS so much better with sautéed mushrooms.

Before I discovered this neat tip, I would clean & slice the mushrooms and then sauté them in a little olive oil and butter. They were delicious and I didn't think it would be possible to improve the flavor. Then I read a tip out of an old gourmet cookbook that changed my life (well… in terms of mushrooms, anyway :>).

What you do is prepare the mushrooms the same way, but add a splash of good-quality vermouth while they're sautéing. The difference in flavor will blow you away. When I say a "splash" of Vermouth – I mean about one-half cup for about a pound of mushrooms. First, sauté the mushrooms for 3-4 minutes with just the butter and olive oil. Then add the vermouth and continue sautéing until they're soft - about 8-10 more minutes. Then lift out with a slotted spoon and serve on top of your steak. Lord have mercy, this is just plain FABULOUS! And it's such an easy thing to do! Just add that magical Vermouth during the last 2/3rds of the sauté process. Boy, oh boy. The difference!

A couple of tips for you… although vermouth is a wine, it's categorized as a liquor because of its alcohol content. Therefore you have to purchase it where liquor is sold. (In Idaho liquor is not sold in grocery stores so I have to make a special trip to the liquor store. But it's well worth it!). I've tried the two top brands of vermouth – "Martini" and "Noilly Pratt". Both are delicious but my personal preference is Noilly Pratt. And by the way, we're talking about extra-dry white Vermouth here (it also comes in red but that's another article). Extra-dry is the most common; it's what's used to make gin & vodka martinis, manhattans, etc.

Tip #2 . . . Here's a neat way to quickly wash mushrooms with absolutely NO MESS and you don't have to bother with a brush. Put the whole mushrooms in a plastic shopping bag; add cold water to cover, and then sprinkle in about a tablespoon of salt. Then just squish the bag around for about a minute, and the salt acts as tiny scrub brushes. (Sort of fun, too!). Then pour it all into a colander and rinse thoroughly to get rid of all the salt. VOILA! Clean as a whistle! Pat dry with a paper towel and they're ready to slice.

You are going to LOVE this vermouth tip. Give it a try! Now that I know this I never cook mushrooms (for any recipe) without adding vermouth. Happy Cooking!

Patti Mays is an expert cook who's all about delicious, simple, foods. Her website features easy-to-make recipes; helpful tools (most can be ordered on the site) great ideas, and tips. She has a large following because of her unpretentious style & humorous approach. www.GreatCookingIdeas.com