The Fungi at the Party
Often times, if I took the standard vegetarian appetizer to the party of hummus and vegetables, or crackers and cheese, my dishes were passed over becoming too warm and too yucky to save. The vegetarian appetizers ended up in the trash; lackluster while competing with meatier appetizers.
Recently, my family was getting together for dinner for my Meme’s birthday. I wanted to make five or six small courses but the starter or “amuse bouche” eluded me. It had to be comparable with the rest of dinner, and since the other dishes were primarily French, it had to have that sense about it as well. If it could be vegetarian, that would certainly make it nicer for me.
After playing with a few recipes, several of which failed, I finally found a mushroom pate that I could present proudly for the special night and also make extra and horde in my refrigerator for myself (it’s that good).
16 oz of white, button mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1/2 cup curly parsley, roughly chopped
2 Tbs. Olive oil or butter
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
4 Tbs Armagnac or Cognac
1/4 cup feta cheese
In a large skillet, saute mushrooms in olive oil or butter with garlic. When they have begun to turn golden, add the chopped parsley at the last minute and turn off the heat. Set aside to cool. While cooling, add the cognac.
Once the mushroom mixture is cool, add mushrooms and feta cheese to a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth (if the liquid is needed, add a drizzle of olive oil or a tsp of cognac). Scoop the pate out of the processor and place in ramekins or small serving dishes. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight to reach a firm consistency.
Serve mushroom pate with freshly sliced baguette, crackers or spread on thickly sliced cucumbers.