Mushroom season is almost upon us! And without any book events on the horizon, that means there's nothing to stop me from diving face first into the poison ivy. Nothing except my vanity, that is, which is inconsistent at best.
Brace yourselves for my hideous form!
In the meantime, here's a great recipe for individual mushroom strudels. I had these for lunch all week. They're like a food snob's Hot Pocket. Just pop the leftovers in the toaster oven and serve them with a little salad. (Oh, who am I kidding, there was no salad. Phyllo laughs at salad.)
I made these strudels with regular old button mushrooms combined with dried Serbian black trumpets rehydrated in water, but you can use whatever mushrooms you like. They were inspired by one of my favorite books on edible fungi, The Complete Mushroom Book by Antonio Carluccio. It's an amazing book. As Amazon reviewer Richard Powell notes, "You get the impression that you have been taken into a confidence, that you are being let in on some secrets. Reading this book is a bit like reading a dusty sacred text with golden page edges." My thoughts exactly. The beautiful photos don't hurt, either. And the recipes? Fabulous. Lots of nice pastas, risottos, and sautés, though maybe the morels stuffed with foie gras were a little over the top. I mean, if I had both morels and foie gras on hand, I might be inclined to spread out the wealth a little, maybe give them each a chance to shine independently. Foie gras stuffed inside morels in a cognac cream sauce is like the turducken of luxury foods. A little rich for a Tuesday night, but let's file that idea away for my last supper.
If you can't be bothered with phyllo dough, you can just sauté the mushrooms (omit the flour) and then serve them over polenta, rice, or the whole grain of your choice.
1 pound mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
1 Tbsp. dry sherry
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
Leaves from 1 spring of marjoram
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
12 sheets phyllo dough (9x14-inch)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet with butter or line it with parchment paper.
Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a damp paper towel. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and cook the onion over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and nutmeg, and sauté for 4 minutes more until the mushrooms have cooked down and released their juices. Reduce the heat to low and add the sherry. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring now and then to evaporate the alcohol. Stir in the flour, marjoram, salt, and pepper, and remove from the heat. Let the mixture cool while preparing the pastry.
Set a sheet of phyllo on the counter, short side facing you. Brush it with melted butter. Add another sheet of phyllo on top, and brush that with butter. Top with a third sheet of phyllo. Spoon one-fourth of the mushroom mixture on the side closest to you, leaving an inch of space all around the bottom and sides. Sprinkle the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese. Fold the bottom edge of the phyllo over the top of the mixture, fold in the sides, and then roll it over and over into a neat package not unlike a burrito. Brush it all over with beaten egg and set it on the baking sheet seam side down. Repeat three more times.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Serve warm. Makes 4.
Source: Adapted from The Complete Mushroom Book: The Quiet Hunt by Antonio Carluccio