Changing the Future of All Minds

BY PAULA WOLFERT

These umami-packed mushrooms are both wonderfully modern and a throwback to the era of cocktail parties (excellent with martinis). “Greek green-cracked olives are large, dark, and sharp, with a hint of bitterness and a slightly smoky flavor that mingles well with dried wild mushrooms,” Paula wrote in the World of Food.

True to Paula, the recipe is both specific and forgiving, requiring two kinds of mushrooms and both butter and olive oil, yet the whole thing can be assembled up to a day ahead of time and reheated just before serving. It makes a great first course or side dish.

Serves 4 to 6

The mushrooms can be assembled and refrigerated overnight before the final baking

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 ounce (20 g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup (240 ml) hot water
  • Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 to 20 firm fresh white mushrooms, caps about 11/2 inches (3.75 cm) wide (about 12 ounces | 350 g total)
  • 4 tablespoons (60 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (10 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 10 to 15 pitted cracked green olives (about 90 g total), rinsed and finely chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking dish with the oil.

In a small bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and hot water. Add a pinch of salt and let stand for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, wipe the white mushrooms clean. Trim off the stem ends, separate the stems from the caps, and finely chop the stems. You should have about 1 cup (70 g). Set aside (save any extra for another use).

Place the mushroom caps, gill side up, in the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, mash 2 tablespoons of the butter with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Divide the butter evenly among the caps. Bake the caps for 10 minutes, until heated through and a little moisture is released. Remove from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C). While the caps are baking, rub the dried mushrooms between your fingers in the soaking water to remove any grit, then lift out the mushrooms, squeeze them dry over the bowl, and finely chop them. Slowly pour the mushroom soaking liquid into a frying pan, stopping when you reach the grit at the bottom of the bowl.

Add the chopped dried mushrooms and fresh mushroom stems to the frying pan and bring slowly to a simmer over medium low heat. Turn down the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushroom stems are tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the mushroom mixture to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the parsley, oregano, lemon juice, and olives and work together with a fork

until evenly mixed. Season with salt and pepper, then stuff each mushroom cap with about 1 tablespoon of the mixture. (At this point, the stuffed mushroom caps can be covered and refrigerated overnight before continuing.)

Bake the caps until tender when pierced with a toothpick and sizzling, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot or lukewarm.

Excerpted from UNFORGETTABLE The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade LIfe by Emily Kaiser Thelin.  Copyright © 2017 by Emily Kaiser Thelin. Reprinted with permission from Grand Central Life & Style.  All rights reserved.

 

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