Recipe: Mixed Mushroom Pâté
From Lukas Volger's 'Snacks for Dinner'
This recipe is from Lukas Volger’s wonderful cookbook, Snacks for Dinner.
Mixed Mushroom Pâté
This vegetarian pâté delivers multipronged richness, featuring a cashew base, caramelized onions, miso, and deep mushroom flavor. I’ve been making it for years, and used to be adamant that a little bit of heavy cream (and some butter) was necessary here. But I’ve since evolved to think this vegan version— where a small amount of tahini provides the creamy mouthfeel—is superior. If you don’t want to splurge on porcini mushrooms, I often make this using other dried mushrooms, such as hen of the woods, wood ear, and black trumpet mushrooms, and a “forest” medley also works terrifically. Slather the leftovers on toasts or crackers, serve with crudités, or use it as sandwich filling.
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 ounce (about 1/2 cup) dried porcini mushrooms, or other dried mushrooms (see above)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms (about 21/2 cups), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons brandy or whiskey
1 tablespoon light-colored miso
2 teaspoons tahini
Freshly ground black pepper
In separate bowls or glasses, cover the cashews and mushrooms with hot tap water for 20 to 30 minutes. The mushrooms should be softened all the way through. Drain and rinse the ca- shews. Pick out the mushrooms and squeeze, reserving the excess liquid with any left in the soaking vessel, then coarsely chop the mushrooms.
Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, smashed garlic cloves, and a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring periodically, until caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes, lowering the heat if they start to brown too quickly. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor or high- speed blender.
Return the skillet to the heat and add remaining oil. When warmed, add the fresh mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the liquid begins to pool in the pan, then add the chopped por- cini mushrooms and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until the pan has dried out. Pour in the alcohol and cook until the pan is dry. Add to the onions.
Add the remaining ingredients to the mushrooms and onions and process until very smooth, which will take a few minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides periodically. Taste and adjust seasonings. It will thicken as it sits; if the pâté is too thick to move, add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid by the tablespoon with the motor running. Scoop into jars or a container and, once cooled, cover tightly and refrigerate for several hours before serving. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.