Walnut, Wild Mushroom and Parsley Pâté
This simple, savoury purée makes the most out of a small handful of seasonal wild mushrooms and a few walnuts, with some cultivated mushrooms added for bulk. Throw in any tasty fungi you can get your hands on – blewits, winter chanterelles, hedgehog fungi and horns of plenty are all likely candidates to be around when the walnuts are ready. Serve the pâté warm on toast for a delicious winter snack or starter.
- 50g shelled walnuts
- 250g mushrooms (any tasty wild mushrooms you can find, along with enough cultivated mushrooms to make up the weight)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
- 1 banana shallot or small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons of Madeira or dry sherry
- Large handful of parsley leaves, picked, plus some sprigs for garnish
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 150˚C. Roughly chop the walnut kernels and scatter them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven and set a timer for 5 minutes (this is important – it’s all too easy to forget and end up with a tray of burnt nuts). When the timer goes off, check to see if the nuts are golden and aromatic – they may need longer, but keep setting the timer for 5 minutes and checking until they’re done. When the nuts are golden brown and aromatic, remove from the oven and tip onto a plate to cool.
- Clean the mushrooms with a brush and damp kitchen paper, and trim the stems. Chop or tear the mushrooms into large chunks and set aside.
- Put the oil in a wide frying pan and set over medium heat. Fry the onions gently for about 5 minutes until softened but not coloured, stirring frequently.
- Raise the heat slightly and add the mushrooms. Toss them briefly in the oil and onions, and then let them fry without stirring for a few minutes to allow them to brown a little. Then turn them and let them fry undisturbed on the other side. At some point, the mushrooms will yield their juices into the pan, but keep the heat high until the liquid is evaporated.
- Add the Madeira, chopped parsley and toasted walnuts and simmer gently until the moisture is once again absorbed and the mixture is thickened, stirring frequently. Draw the frying pan off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for a couple of minutes before tipping it into a processor.
- Add the olive oil and parmesan and blitz the mixture to your preferred texture – pulse briefly for a coarser pâté or whizz until smooth. Taste or seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary and mixing again, then turn into a warmed serving dish. Decorate with sprigs of parsley and serve.
The cooled mixture will keep for 3–4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
This recipe would also work well with hedgehog fungus.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK