Neurosis can be tasty. Kinda pretty, even. Recipe below.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Along the same lines, I am the (admittedly less well-known) queen of really hating to put things away. Also the mayor of rationalization. How do I find the time?
Well, friends, I own a mandoline with a julienne blade, that’s how. You may recall that I recently used it to make raw beet salad and kohlrabi remoulade. You may also recall that I am the Queen Mayor of Not Putting Away my Mandoline. Still and all, you may be surprised to discover that I would rather develop an entire recipe to use said mandoline again than put it back in the box and put the box in the cabinet.
Alright then, it’s settled. Hors d’oeuvres for everyone. Let’s have a party! I’ll cook, you clean.
Recipe: Mushroom Bites in Potato Nests
Makes 24 Bites. Special Equipment: A mini-muffin pan
For the Nests
- 1 egg
- 2 medium baking potatoes
- Salt and pepper
- Oil or butter for the pan
For the Filling
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, sliced into small pieces
- 1/3 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced into small pieces
- 1/4 cup dry Marsala wine
- 1 heaping Tablespoon crème fraîche
- 1 Tablespoon grated Pecorino or Parmigiano cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
- Salt & pepper
- Make the nests: Preheat the oven to 425° F. Brush a mini-muffin pan with oil or melted butter. Crack the egg into a medium bowl and beat lightly. Peel the potatoes and cut with the julienne blade of a mandoline. (Hold the potato so as to cut crosswise, not lengthwise, otherwise the pieces will be too long.) Mix the cut potatoes with the egg as you go so they don’t oxidize. Mix in a good pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Distribute the potato mixture among 24 mini-muffin molds to make a thinnish layer on the bottom and up the sides of each mold. Be careful to leave behind or drain off any accumulated liquid in the bowl rather than adding excess liquid to the molds. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and slightly crisp. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing nests from pan, loosening each by running a paring knife carefully around the sides.
- While the nests are baking, make the topping: Melt the butter and olive oil in a wide frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the minced shallot and garlic. Sauté for one minute. Add the sliced mushrooms, along with a generous pinch or two of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release any liquid and it cooks off. Add the Marsala and cook, stirring once or twice, until all liquid has evaporated. Turn off the heat and stir in the crème fraîche, grated cheese and tarragon.
- Spoon a small amount of the mushroom mixture into each potato nest. Rewarm in a low oven for a few minutes before serving, if desired.
Note: I swears I came up with this potato nest in a mini-muffin tin idea on my own, but in doing the requisite Google research of any recipe developer, I came across this beautiful post by Béa over at La Tartine Gourmande, whose blog you probably know and love already. She figured this out like three-and-a-half years ago and has a great-looking topping of her own. So. Try that one too!
Number of servings (yield): 12