Thursday, December 2, 2010

What to bring?


It’s time to start thinking about what to bring to your holiday get-togethers. Last year, I was all about the crostini. This year I have an almost incurable desire for pate of all types which made my decision easy. I’m going to leave the meat pates to the experts but have chosen a vegetarian pate that gets its hearty flavor from mushrooms. I like this dish because while still being a dip type of appetizer it is a little more avant-garde and different than your normal dip and chip scene. Plus you can’t beat the presentation which is basically throw it in a cute bowl and put some scallion or chives on top. It is best served with pumpernickel or rye bread.

Vegetarian Chopped Liver
(via Melissa Clark)
Yields about 2 cups

2 oz. unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
2 fresh thyme sprigs
¾ lb. cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cut into medium dice
½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into medium dice (2 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. dry sherry
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1 small clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
¼ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 hard cooked eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Flaky sea salt to finish
Thinly sliced scallions or chives for garnish


Melt the butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is dark brown, 15 to 20 minutes-it should be darker than gold, but not black. Stir in the cremini and shiitake, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and golden and the liquid they release has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the sherry and cook, scraping up the browned bits from the pan, until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Let the mixture cool to room temperature

Transfer half of the mushroom mixture to a food processor. Add the walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, zest, ¾ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper. Process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining mushroom mixture and the eggs. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve in a crock or bowl drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and scallions or chives.

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