September 30, 2011
Wild Mushroom Butter with Crostini
Wine Varietal: Pinot Noir
Makes 1 1/2 cups
In the spring and fall, Northwest forests burst into life with wild mushrooms sporting lyrical names—chanterelles, morels, hedgehogs, black trumpets. When paired with sweet butter, a touch of garlic, and a hint of Cognac, their musky flavor makes a distinctive appetizer dip.
1/2 pound fresh wild Northwest mushrooms, such as chanterelles, morels, black trumpets, hedgehogs, and/or porcini, or a mixture of several varieties
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
2 teaspoons minced fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Cognac or dry Sherry (optional)
1. Wipe the mushrooms with a soft-bristled brush to remove any traces of dirt or pine needles, then chop them coarsely.
2. Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms absorb the butter and begin to shrink, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the marjoram, salt, and pepper, stirring well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms shrink and the garlic is tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from heat and allow to cool.
4. Place the remaining 1/2 cup butter in a food processor or blender and pulse briefly. Add the mushrooms, pan juices, and Cognac and pulse until the mixture is well blended but the mushrooms still have a bit of texture. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
5. Scoop the mushroom butter into an attractive ramekin or bowl, smooth the surface, cover, and refrigerate 1 hour or, preferably, overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.
6. Remove the mushroom butter from the refrigerator 1/2 hour before serving. Prepare the crostini. Place the ramekin in the center of a large plate or platter and surround with the crostini.
Cook’s Hint: Toss leftover butter with hot, cooked pasta; melt over cooked fish, pork, or chicken; or freeze for up to six months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.
1 narrow loaf French or Italian bread, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1. Preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and place 3 to 4 inches from the heat source. Broil until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe from Braiden Rex-Johnson’s private collection.