It’s funny how, in a season when abundance is the mot du jour, we also live with a forced spareness. My husband is slammed at work and has to accept that he won’t be caught up by the end of the week in time for his upcoming vacation days. I have tasks and more tasks to complete but they’re all tabled. We’re making gifts, baking a little, having friends over; together all the time since school is out.
It was a beautiful week. On Saturday we took a belated trip to a tree farm on the other side of town. If we go next year I’ll try to capture some photos of the Douglas firs along the winding driveway with figurines of Santa stationed beneath them. After picking out our tree, the first Noble we’ve ever had, we all sat around a fire with hot cider and crepes and took in the big blue sky. Except for my son, who was distracted by the bigness of some dog visitors.
With the tree up and preparations in full swing, small tasks in the kitchen are the ones that get done. And this crimini duxelle is just that, something simple to put together for a party dip or to add depth to a soup for a big holiday meal.
It’s a great way to enjoy the ubiquitous crimini mushrooms that are, I swear, more flavorful than white button mushrooms, even though they’re both of the Agaricus bisporus species. (So are portobellos, by the way.) The criminis I bought are cultivated in British Columbia, so though they wouldn’t qualify if I were adhering to The 100-mile Diet, they’re regional. At this time of year, that makes me very merry.
I love mushrooms in the fall. Most often I prepare them by roasting with ghee, fresh thyme and
Celtic sea salt then deglazing with balsamic vinegar. For the holidays, it’s fun to think of ways
I’ve prepared them in the past and change it up a bit. This duxelle is a versatile way to incorporate
mushrooms into your meal as a dip or filling.
1 large shallot, minced
2 T ghee, extra virgin olive oil or a combination of both
1 lb crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T fresh herbs such as sage, thyme, and rosemary, stems removed and finely chopped
¼ cup white wine
zest of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
Celtic sea salt
2 T parsley, finely chopped
Brush mushrooms to clean. If washing them is a necessity, dry well on a towel or they
will absorb the moisture like a sponge. Either way, place the mushrooms in a towel
and squeeze out excess water for better browning.
Saute the shallots in ghee and extra virgin olive oil until lightly fragrant.
Add the mushrooms and cook until any liquid cooks off. Add the garlic and herbs.
Add the white wine and cook to evaporate [Jenni substituted a scant ¼ c dry sherry].
Add zest with a pinch of black pepper. Salt to taste.
Off the heat, toss the parsley in to finish. Garnish with pine nuts.
Enjoy by filling lettuce leaves, cooking in an omlette, or spreading beneath the skin on a roasted chicken.
You can also try Chie’s raw version of this recipe.