Ingredient of the Month: Mushrooms by Patricia Wells

To introduce our ingredient of the month for October we have the renowned cookbook author Patricia Wells, whose next book, SALAD AS A MEAL, is due out next spring. We can’t wait! The recipe below for Wild Mushrooms in Parchment with Wild Mint is from her recent book VEGETABLE HARVEST, and it’s incredibly easy to make yet also dinner-party elegant. And you can use any mushrooms or mint–it will still be great. Enjoy!

Wild Mushrooms in Parchment with Wild Mint

Come autumn, wild and domestic mushrooms take center stage in outdoor markets, and that’s when I turn to the earthy, woodsy vegetables, combining them with mint, garlic, walnut oil, and freshly ground black pepper for a stunning vegetable course. What I love about this recipe is that you can simply use domestic mushrooms, or a mixture of various wild as well as domestic mushrooms. Each contributes a different flavor, color, and texture, making for a complex dish that takes little time. I love cooking in little packages, for they arrive as a present on a plate.

Equipment: Baking parchment; a baking sheet; 4 warmed salad plates.

  • 1 pound large cèpe or porcini mushrooms (or substitute a mix of chanterelles or girolles,  cremini,  portobello, or standard cultivated mushrooms), cleaned, trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons fresh wild mint, domestic mint, or oregano
  • 4 plump, moist garlic cloves, peeled, halved, green germ removed, and cut lengthwise into thin slivers
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon best-quality walnut oil (or substitute extra-virgin olive oil)

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Prepare 4 pieces of parchment, each about 12 inches square.

3. In a large bowl, combine the sliced mushrooms, mint, garlic, salt, pepper, and oil and toss gently to blend. With a large spoon, transfer the mushrooms to the square of parchment. Fold the top half of the parchment over and seal with several staples.

4. Place the parchment packages on a baking sheet. Place in the center of the oven and cook until the mushrooms are soft and fragrant, about 25 minutes. Transfer each mushroom package to a salad plate. Provide a small scissors for each guest to open their package at the table. Supply a small bowl for them to discard the parchment.

4 servings

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