Welcome to a new team of Mushroom Channel contributors! Our first post comes directly from Kate, the brains behind Savour-Fare. Kate’s creations have been featured on Food52, Tastepotting, Foodgawker, Foodista and The Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen. Welcome to the mushroom team, Kate!
As a child, there were only a few things I would not eat, and one of them was mushrooms.
This caused my mycophilic parents great anxiety. Mushrooms featured heavily in the family lore, as they were on the menu the first time my father ever cooked dinner for my mother (sautéed with an entire stick of butter. My dad knew how to woo the ladies), and my folks simply could not understand how I could miss out on the joys that are mushrooms. They tried everything they could to make me see the light, offering sliced raw mushrooms in salad, mushrooms baked into macaroni and cheese and, for the win, as the pizza topping of choice.
However, despite their most earnest entreaties, I remained steadfast in my dislike of mushrooms, eating around them in the mac and cheese, turning up my nose at the salads, and picking them off my pizza, one by one.
What my otherwise loving and wise parents did not understand was that my objection to mushrooms was all in my mind. My eight year old self knew they were fungi, and the slippery texture of the cooked mushrooms my parents plied me with did nothing to distract me from that knowledge.
My conversion from a mushroom hater to a mushroom lover had to come in another form, where the texture of the mushrooms became secondary to that woodsy, earthy, haunting flavor that the best mushrooms offer. Fortunately for my culinary education, a mushroom pate offered just that – a distillation of the flavor of mushrooms, with a texture closer to the finest country terrine. I was offered a pate like this one, happily ate it up, and promptly decided that maybe mushrooms weren’t so bad after all.
Now, as an adult, I can say with all honesty that I love the slippery little buggers, and I am more than happy to top a salad of spring mache with a sauté of delicate chanterelles, or add some earthy portobellos to my pizza. And my daughter shows no sign of my childhood proclivities – she will happily gobble silky shiitakes in a stir fry, or chow on a pungent porcini pasta. But then again, she’s only two, and the opinions about texture might just come later. So I’ve created this recipe for mushroom pate, sweetened with hazelnuts, brightened with lemon, and almost meaty with cremini mushrooms, sautéed in butter. Just in case. After all, we wouldn’t want her to miss out on the joys that are mushrooms.
Adapted from Sunset
- ½ ounce mixed wild dried mushrooms (my daughter often throws these in the shopping cart – the one I use is a blend of dried shiitake, porcini, oyster and wood ear mushrooms)
- 1/ 4 c. boiling water
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms
- 2 large or 3 small shallots
- 3 T butter
- 1 c. whole hazelnuts
- 2 T olive oil
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- Salt to taste
1) Rehydrate the dried mushrooms by soaking them in a bowl with the boiling water until the mushrooms are plump and soft.
2) Wash the cremini mushrooms by passing them under running water (contrary to myth, this won’t make them spongy. But it will make them clean), and remove the stems.
3) In a food processor, combine the rehydrated mushrooms with the water they soaked in, the cremini mushroom caps, and the shallots (peeled). Pulse until everything is finely chopped.
4) In a large skillet, melt the butter, add the mushroom mixture and a large pinch of salt, and sauté over low heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms are golden brown and any liquid that has been released during cooking has evaporated.
5) Meanwhile, toast the hazelnuts and remove the skins (rubbing them in a mesh bag that originally held onions or garlic works wonderfully).
6) In the food processor (you don’t have to clean it thoroughly; it’s OK if there are still bits of mushrooms in there for this step), process the nuts until finely chopped and start to form a paste. With the mixer running, pour the olive oil through the tube and process until the nuts are smooth. Add the mushroom mixture and continue to process until the mixture is homogeneous and resembles a loose pate. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt to taste.
7) Put the mushroom pate into a jar or crock and chill before serving. Serve with good crusty bread or crackers to mushroom lovers and picky children.