Don't be alarmed. I didn't open a can of Fancy Feast and attempt to pass it off as food fit for human consumption. What you see here is a mushroom-walnut spread. It's a nice and light accompaniment to an array of spreads for holidays, such as the upcoming Hallmark holiday, Mother's Day. The flavors of the cilantro and tiny pinch of tarragon pair well with the portobello mushrooms and toasted walnuts. I found the recipe on a running forum and tweaked it to suit my taste.
Start off by chopping portobello mushrooms, an onion, and garlic.
The vegetables get sauteed until they begin to brown and reduce. I wanted a fond to develop, which I loosened up with a little pinot grigio so the flavor would be added back to the dip instead of remaining on the bottom of the skillet.
Let the mushroom mixture cool a little while you grind toasted walnuts.
Add the mushroom mixture, cilantro, and lemon juice and pulse until a spread is formed. It won't be entirely smooth, but you don't want it to be.
While I prepared the spread I toasted wedges of pita bread (tossed with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper) to serve alongside it.
The spread had a bright flavor, nothing standing out too prominently. I felt the taste of the mushrooms and walnuts, while not heavy, paired well together. There was a hint of tarragon (which was added to the mushrooms as they cooked) but it didn't overwhelm the flavors and tasted good with the cilantro and lemon juice. I'd definitely make this recipe again. If you're looking for a new spread to try, go ahead and make it!
As an alternative, you could probably follow the recipe and form them into patties, then cook in a skillet to make vegetarian patties. You might want to reduce the lemon juice by a tablespoon so it won't be quite as sticky when you form the patties.
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mushroom & walnut spread
Recipe by Christina Provo
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
16 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, coarsley chopped
1 onion, coarsley chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
3 tablespoons chardonnay or pinot grigio
1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts
1 1/2 cups lightly packed cilantro (stems removed)
1/2 lemon, juiced
Pita chips, crackers, bread, etc
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook for three minutes. Stir in garlic, salt, tarragon, and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, then raise heat slightly and cook for about 5-7 minutes more, until fond starts to develop on the bottom of skillet and mushrooms and onions start to brown. Remove from heat; pour in wine and stir to release fond.
- Place walnuts in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add mushroom mixture, cilantro, and lemon juice. Pulse until ingredients are blended together; it won't be completely smooth. Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.
- Serve with pita chips or whatever you like.