Friday, 23 May 2008

Mushroom 'caviar' Mark II

There are some recipes you get obsessed with and have to go on testing until you crack them. This is a fantastic spread that they sell in the takeaway of our local Bristol restaurant, Culinaria.

I asked the chef, Stephen Markwick how they made it and he just rattled off a list of ingredients - as chefs do. I had a go and the taste was fine but it was a bit heavy. This morning I popped by when they were making a batch and found the reason was that I'd used butter and hadn't added enough crème fraîche so hopefully this version will work. Have a try and let me know how you get on.

The only downside is you do need a food processor to chop the mushrooms finely enough. Or I think you do. Tell me if that isn't the case.

Serves 6-8
2 shallots or 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp sunflower oil
350g button mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered
200g tub of crème fraîche
2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon leaves
Salt and pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice
Olive oil

Put the onion and garlic in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Heat the oil over a low heat in a medium to large heavy bottomed saucepan or frying pan and cook the onion and garlic gently until starting to soften (about 4-5 minutes) Chop the mushrooms very finely in the food processor and tip into the pan with the onions. Stir and cook over a very low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes until the mushrooms have the consistency of a thick paste. Take off the heat, stir in the creme fraiche and return to the pan and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the mixture has thickened again. Stir in the chopped tarragon and season to taste with salt, pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Tip into a bowl and cool, trickle over a tablespoon or so of olive oil to stop the surface from discolouring and refrigerate. Serve at cool room temperature with wholemeal toast.

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