warm mushroom salad with hazelnuts

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Warm Mushroom Salad with Hazelnuts and Pecorino
Adapted generously from Sunday Suppers at Lucques

1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
3 tablespoons sherry or a white wine vinegar
9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds mushrooms (cremini or a mix of wild mushrooms), cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 ounces salad greens such as frisé, arugula or a mix of your choice
A 1 cup mix of fresh herbs (optional) such as chives, tarragon
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or a couple pinches of dried
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1/4 pound pecorino (Goin loves di Grotta, and we did too, but Romano would also work) or Parmesan-Reggiano or another hard, sharp cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, rolling them around once or twice to make sure they toast evenly. Rub nuts in a dish towel to remove skins then let cool. Chop the hazelnuts coarsely.

Whisk the shallots, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a bowl and let sit for five minutes (this will soften and almost pickle the shallots), before whisking in 5 tablespoons olive oil.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter until the butter foams. Add half the mushrooms, half the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until they’re softened but not limp (your cooking time will depend on the type of mushrooms you used).

Transfer mushrooms to a plate then repeat with the second half. When they are cooked, return the first half of the mushrooms to the pan then toss in sliced shallots, cooking for an additional 2 minutes.

Spread salad greens on a plate. Sprinkle fresh herbs on top, if using. Spoon hot mushrooms over the salad greens. Pour three-quarters of the vinaigrette in the sauté pan and swirl it in the pan until heated. Season it with 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour over salad and toss carefully. Adjust to taste — you may need more salt, pepper, vinaigrette or even more sherry vinegar.

Use a vegetable peeler to shave cheese over the salad. Sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve immediately.


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