Elegant Appetizers: Potato Nests with Marsala Mushrooms

These elegant appetizers are make-ahead friendly and much easier than they look. You can make the potato nests in any mini muffin tin, but using a silicone muffin tin helps them release from the pan a little more easily.


You can use any mini muffin tin for this recipe, but silicone tins make it a little easier to remove the potato nests.

How to not put away your mandoline slicer

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.

Elegant Appetizers: Potato Nests with Marsala Mushrooms

This elegant little appetizer is savory and wonderful. Plus, it's make-ahead friendly and so much easier than it looks.


For the potato 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before removing nests from pan, loosening each by running a paring knife carefully around the sides.
  4. While the potato nests bake, 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.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the crème fraîche, grated cheese and tarragon.
  6. 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.

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Nutrition Information



Amount Per Serving:

Calories:: 38 Total Fat:: 1.9g Carbohydrates:: 4g Fiber:: 0.7g Protein:: 1g

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  1. Daphne

    Carolyn – Your use of kitchen equipment based on proximity makes perfect sense to me – I really really want to make this recipe – it looks awesome – but I may need professional help – a full session of it – focused on the use of one of my – dare I say it – one of my two mandolines!!!! Yes it is a little shocking – but I just can’t seem to self teach on this one.I just know It will open up a whole world of opportunity….Daphne

  2. Genius. Talent. Beauty. Nothing more to say

  3. I love my mandoline too – up until this post I thought I was the only one. The real question is can you make waffle cuts?

    I did something similar for Chanukah a few years ago – sort of a new potato pancake. It is a fun idea. Will have to try yours soon. Thanks for the food for thought.

  4. Thanks, everyone.

    Sonia, that’s fabulous. I wish I were a mushroom hunter. Someday!

  5. sonia

    We are fanatic mushroom hunters, so our daughter Erica
    sent us (again) a link to your lovely blog. We will use oys-
    ters and chantrelles because those were Monday’s finds.

  6. Ooooh potato nests, have’nt made those for ages. Like your filling recipe. What time’s the party?

  7. Neus

    So pretty. I must organize a party soon.

  8. The potato nests are so pretty! Looks yumm.

  9. Perfect little bites for the start of a dinner party!
    ~found you on foodgawker–they’re pretty too.

  10. Jill

    you COOK, I’ll Clean…
    its a TOTAL DONE DEAL! :o)
    name the time, name the place!

  11. chocolate shavings

    This is wonderfully elegant and sounds delicious!