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Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with Soft Herbs, Pecorino and Hazelnuts March 31, 2008

Posted by pcorcoran in Mushrooms, Recipe, Salad, Side Dish.
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2 lbs. wild mushrooms, cleaned
6 ozs. mixed salad of dandelion greens and watercress
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely crushed
2 tbsp. finely diced shallots
3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
9 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. thyme leaves
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup chervil sprigs
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chives, chopped to 1/2-inch pieces
Shaved Pecorino di Grotta (or Romano)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet on medium for a few minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Remove brown skins and crush hazelnuts coarsely.  Set aside.

Place diced shallots, sherry vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a bowl, and set aside for 5 mins.  Whisk in 5 tbsp. olive oil and set aside.

Clean and trim mushrooms.  Tear larger mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, 1-1/2 to 2 inches.

Heat a large skillet over high heat for 2 mins.  Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and heat for another minute.  Melt in 1 tbsp. butter and add half of the mushrooms to the skillet.  Season mushrooms with 1 tsp. thyme, 3/4 tsp. salt, and a few twists of ground pepper.  Saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.  (Cooking time will vary with the types of mushrooms.)  Transfer cooked mushrooms to a bowl, and repeat cooking process with the remaining half of the mushrooms.

Meanwhile, place the greens and herbs in a large mixing bowl.

When the second batch of mushrooms is finished, add the first batch back into the skillet.  Add the vinaigrette to the skillet and warm with mushrooms for a minute or two.  When mixture is hot, pour mushrooms and dressing over the greens and herbs and mix.  Add 1/4 tsp. salt and ground pepper to taste.

Using tongs, arrange salad mixture on plates.  Sprinkle hazelnuts and pecorino over each salad plate.  Serve immediately.

Time to prepare: 30 to 45 minutes

Difficulty: 3/10

Serves: 4

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This is not a difficult dish to prepare.  Most of the time is spent grooming the herbs, washing the greens, and cleaning the mushrooms.  Once cooking begins the salad in finished in under 15 minutes.

To help time this dish with others, the mushrooms can be cooked up to 4 hours in advance.  Re-heat mushrooms just before serving, stirring in the vinaigrette until hot, as described above.