Porcini Mushroom Paté

Crostini di Funghi Porcini (Porcini Mushroom Paté with Crostini)

The Beat Divas — Mady Kaye
Yield: 2 cups, enough for 8 to 10 people, 2 to 3 crostini/person

For the paté:

.20 lb of dried porcini mushrooms = about 1½ cups total
1 sweet onion, sliced
5 TBSP. olive oil, divided
splash of good balsamic vinegar
3 to 4 large cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP. fresh thyme (off the stem and chopped fine), divided
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
Finely grated parmesan cheese for garnish
For the crostini:
1 loaf white Italian or French bread, about 24” long, 3” diameter (makes 24 to 30 slices)
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup unsalted butter (4 TBSP.)
3 to 4 large cloves garlic, minced
To make the paté:

1. Put dried porcini mushrooms in a glass bowl and pour boiling water over mushrooms.

Soak for 30 minutes, then drain. (You may reserve mushroom “water” for a soup or stew.) Set mushrooms aside.

2. In a large skillet or wok, sauté onion in 2 TBSP. of olive oil, about 20 minutes total. It will “caramelize” and turn a lovely honey brown color. At the end of the cooking process, turn off flame and pour a splash of balsamic vinegar into the onions and stir well. Remove onions from pan and use the same pan to cook the mushrooms.

3. Now sauté the drained mushrooms in 3 TBSP. olive oil for about 7 minutes on low to medium heat. Add the minced garlic during the cooking process, salt and pepper and only 1 TBSP. of the chopped thyme, mixing well. At the end of the cooking time, add the onions into this mixture and combine well.

4. Put the entire mixture into a food processor and add the reserved 1 TBSP. chopped thyme and process until smooth in texture. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if desired. Can be made a day ahead and chilled before use. Bring to room temperature before serving. Total yield is about 2 cups.


To make the crostini:

Pre-heat oven to 375° and put baking rack in the middle of the oven.

1. Combine the olive oil and butter in a sauce pan and heat on medium. When bubbling,

add the minced garlic and sauté until just lightly brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat immediately.

2. Slice the bread on a diagonal, about ½” thick. Brush both sides of bread with butter-olive oil mixture, leaving minced garlic in the pan*. Put bread on an ungreased baking sheet, stacking in layers if necessary. Bake about 12 minutes, until barely golden brown. Remove from baking pan, cool, and smear crostini with porcini paté, then grated parmesan on top of the paté. Garnish serving platter with sprigs of fresh thyme.

Paté keeps in the refrige for several days and gets better with age.


Cook’s Notes:

I made the olive oil-butter mixture for the crostini first, just to get it out of the way.

*I then added the garlic that had been sautéed for the crostini to the final stage of making the mushroom paté — in the food processor. The mellow flavor of the very cooked garlic added another layer of flavor to the mushroom paté and gave it some nice, middle notes.

If you choose this method, 3 cloves of garlic will be enough in the paté mixture instead of four cloves. Porcini mushrooms have a very bold flavor, balanced wonderfully by sautéed onion and garlic. The paté works well on crackers, too. Bon appétit.