warm mushroom salad with hazelnuts

So, this is a tale of two salads. No wait, three. Okay, this is the tale of three salads. The first one crossed our table at brunch with my mother and the little pilot two weeks ago (you might remember that our last brunch together resulting in us obsessing over monkey bread; who knew brunch could be such a source of inspiration?) at one of my favorite local restaurants: warm mushroom, softly cooked, chestnuts cooked in brown butter, bacon lardons and a port reduction. We haven’t stopped talking about it since.

torn wild mushrooms

So, when I was looking for a salad to make for our accidental dinner party last weekend that did not hinge entirely on out-of-season always-going-bad-too-fast never-tasting-as-good-as-they-should salad greens and spied on a warm mushroom salad in the always-amazing Sunday Suppers at Lucques, I had a good feeling about it.

chives, shallots, hazelnuts, mushrooms

It involved a whole lot of things. Two pounds of wild mushrooms, toasted and skinned hazelnuts, shallots cut in two ways, a ton of a fresh herbs, sherry vinegar, delicate mache and an obscure percorino, and a very careful cooking and plating process. Our friends cleaned every speck of salad off the serving platter. It was a clear home run.


And yet, it bugged me. Hey, I love some obscure pecorinos and fancy wild mushrooms as much as the next person with taste buds, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that — at least for the kind of cooking I prefer to embrace at home — I could make this with more reliable, humble ingredients, like brown mushrooms. So the next night, I did. Out of mache, I used arugula, but many greens would do. Out of sherry vinegar, I used a white wine vinegar. Out of almost every herb, and appalled by the post-blizzard pick of them at the store, I skipped them. And we enjoyed it just as much — possibly even more, because I had gotten the flavor I wanted without having relegate it to “special occasions” because we’d nearly broken the bank for it.

toasted, chopped hazelnuts

So, below is a warm mushroom salad you can make humble or fancy. It could a Saturday night showpiece or it could be be a Thursday night dinner with a poached egg on top and hunk of crusty bread on the side. I think we know which one I vote for.

warm mushroom salad

One year ago: Crispy Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two years ago: Alex’s Chicken and Mushroom Marsala

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

153 comments on warm mushroom salad with hazelnuts

  1. Sylvia

    Hey Deb!
    Just read the recipe and found this: Pour three-quarters of the vinaigrette in the saut&233; :) just letting you know so you can fix it! Sounds great by the way!

    1. deb

      Chef Evan — That would be delicious.

      E. — I think the secret is letting them toast a little longer than you should. I always do, the skins fleck off better. The problem is that you’re also at a high risk of burning them. Which I also always do. (The nuts you see here are batch two.) Also, I’m a hypocrite because I suggest the towel trick but I … I like to just let them cool halfway and roll them around in my hands until the skin comes off. It probably doesn’t work as well, but I the mess that comes from using a towel. It always leaves flecks strewn all over the kitchen.

      So, uh, I guess I had a few tips there, huh?

      Carissa — No, but I must. Everything from the book has been showstopping.

  2. Hello, love. I bought some hazelnuts yesterday for the outside of my boyfriend’s birthday. Hopefully there will be some left because this will be Monday nights dinner. The mister does’t do mushrooms, but after the vat of sauce and meatballs and hand rolled pasta I’m making for Sunday’s dinner, he can make his own damn dinner.

  3. E.

    This looks great, but how did you peel your hazelnuts so perfectly? There was many a burning of fingers and flying of hazelnut skins when I made hazelnut-chocolate ice cream, but I only managed to remove about 70% of the skin. I did the whole dish towel thing and everything. Please share your tips for your gloriously nude hazelnuts!

  4. Symphonic Chef

    Gorgeous, Deb. Toasted hazelnuts are a brilliant topping for so many salads (and on sauteed brussel sprouts, mmmm) And yes, your little pilot does give me baby-making fever (like, every time you post his picture…)

  5. Looks delicious, Deb! I love hazelnuts (as evidenced by my last blog post). I have a nasty habit of buying salad greens only to forget about them in my refrigerator. I am making an effort not to do that, so tomorrow I am determined to make a salad for dinner, maybe this one.

  6. lemonadefish

    I don’t know whether to make some salad and eat your baby, or eat some salad and make a baby, but either way, delicious!

  7. I knew by the first photo that this was a Sunday Suppers at Lucques salad!
    It looks just like Goin’s almond and date salad, which I also adapt loosely!

    That’s the good thing about that favorite cookbook, you can always improvise and change things around, otherwise dinner would take 2 days to get on the table!

  8. Perfect timing! I just was at the Asain grocery store and bought an insane amount of mushrooms without a clear way to use them. Since I can’t eat meat tomorrow I’m having this salad with the poached egg because I love spinach, mushrooms, and poached eggs together. Soooo good with hollandaise sauce.

  9. oooh, i must put back forty on my to do restaurants list; it looks like the kind of place my husband and i would enjoy. how can you stand your cute kid?!? the salad looks exquisite. what kind of nut would you suggest to substitute hazelnuts? they have such a distinct flavor. perhaps pecans would work. (i am allergic)

  10. Francheska

    This is perfect! I have leftover toasted hazelnuts from the cookies I made last night! Must buy mushrooms tomorrow! I can only buy the white button ones, the others are too expensive for us!

  11. E.

    Ah, thanks for the quick response, Deb! My fear of hazelnut skins and burnt fingers should not keep me away from this salad — or hazelnut-chocolate ice cream!

  12. Hayley

    (delurking) ooh. i frequently take out a very similar salad but with spinach and candied walnuts, champagne vinegar and a lil’ bacon. delish. your version sounds great too, and it looks like you can have an amazing salad with different combinations of (meaty) mushrooms + greens + nuts + wine-based vinegar. i’ll have to try one by myself!

  13. absinthe

    Caitlin @37–the diced shallots go raw in the vinaigrette while the sliced get cooked with the mushrooms, upping the shalloty goodness factor.

    1. deb

      Anna — I always love how Anne Burrell on her show says that you toast nuts “just long enough to forget about them” as by the time you smell them, it is often too late. I could not agree more!

      Caitlin — As absinthe also said, they’re used in different ways. The diced ones are almost pickled in the vinaigrette, the sliced ones are heated/cooked a little with the mushrooms. Different effects, end flavors.

      Ali — I didn’t know! I mean the ones that look like the pictures on that page… pink/beige skins, look like a cross between garlic and a small onion. For me, scallions = green onions, long, like thin leeks or very thick chives.

  14. We served a very similar salad at our New Years Eve dinner, minus the hazelnuts. But we used fancy mushrooms. I’ll have to try this version, with the less fancy mushrooms that are more suitable for a weeknight meal!

  15. This sounds AMAZING. I am addicted to brunch, I literally had a brunch wedding, but I was in Boston last weekend and discovered that the town is not sold on the idea of brunch. I literally could not find a decent one, through I did find a great french bakery with a béchamel that made up for it. Still, I love NY, this brunch loving town.

  16. After the recent showing of delectable, drool-worthy, yet calorie-laden goodies you’ve posted, I figured we were about due for a salad! The photo of this salad – especially the first one – makes me drool too! Wow. And the suggestion of making it a meal with a poached egg? I’m sold. Yum.

  17. Amanda

    Wonderful! I have spinach and mushrooms in the fridge and was trying to decide what to do with them for dinner to go alongside burgers (trying to balance the plate you know!). Found it!

  18. This looks ~amazing~ Deb. I was just hunting for a recipe for a warm salad with mushrooms and lo and behold, you come through again.
    Can’t wait to try this, I’ll link you to my attempt!

  19. Sunny

    Hi Deb,

    OMG – I had something similar once in Quebec that blew my mind. Instead of a sharp cheese they used chèvre and instead of hazelnuts they used toasted pine nuts. I remember thinking that I had gone to heaven. I can’t wait to try this one out.

  20. I don’t happen to like mushrooms, but I just wanted to say that those photos are incredible (as you well know since you win all of those fancy-pants photography awards!)

  21. Deb, regarding your reply #4, the & and # are now transposed in the recipe directions (I’m so sorry for pointing that out … as a web developer, I know it starts to feel like you’re getting picked on over details like that!)

    Very lovely adaptation of this salad. You’ve got my craving for chestnuts going, though, from the mention of the Back Forty salad. I wish I could get them locally off-season.

  22. Julia

    Wow, I love crimini mushrooms sooooo much! That with the pecorino sounds like a brilliant combination, I will try this soon.

  23. Regarding the removal of hazelnut skins – I found the best way to do this is by using one of the fine plastic mesh bags that shallots/pearl onions/etc. are sold in (think Melissa’s produce line). I keep the bag, toss the toasted hazelnuts in there, and roll around with my hands which allows the skins to fall out of the bag leaving only the hazelnuts in the bag.

  24. Couldn’t have had better timing with this one. I impulsively bought a pack of Maitake shrooms that I had no idea what to do with. I’m thinking they probably wouldn’t shine alongside hazelnuts, but I’m inspired to use them in a salad now – maybe with mandarins, water chestnuts and chives? We’ll see! Thanks for the inspiration!

  25. Ooh, There is NOTHING I adore more than mushrooms. There’s a good local restaurant where I live that serves this fabulous salad of fresh spinach with warm local chevre, bits of hot bacon and just-toasted hazelnuts.

  26. m

    I love mushrooms and hazelnuts–what a wonderful combination for a salad! I normally don’t eat salad, but I think I will have to make an exception for this one. :]

  27. Hello ! I love salads with fried/hot mushrooms, and I love mushrooms…Nice recipe…I come from Poland, but I live in France, and every time I visit Poland during summertime, I eat wild mushrooms nearly every day in salads, soups, Polish dumplings or Italian pasta…:)

  28. b

    I love mushrooms. Question and congrats: first – congrats you are on Forbes’ list of top 8 food bloggers; second – question – the little pilot – Kennedy or LaGuardia.

  29. Janet

    Oh, and Epicurette in New York — the best brunch in the Boston area is at the Neighborhood Restaurant in Union Square, Somerville ( Family-owned Portuguese restaurant and bakery. Amazing bread, delicious food, great prices. I moved out of state 8 years ago and still miss it. Sometimes we go back to Boston just to eat there.

  30. Nancy S

    Wow, 2 of my favorite ingredients in one dish–mushrooms and hazelnuts. Gotta give this a try .thanks for simplifying the recipe.

  31. This salad looks wonderful, but what I love even more is the acknowlegment that there’s a time for the fancy version with expensive ingredients, and there’s a time for the simple version from items on hand. That’s real life cooking!

  32. Crap. I wish I liked mushrooms! I had them recently in some dish and didn’t have a directly related wince, so perhaps I can one day try this…

  33. This looks wonderful. Salad with warm cooked veggies on top is so, so delicious. In summer, I saute chopped okra and bread cubes in garlic and olive oil, then put them over salad greens. The mushroom, hazelnut combo sounds heavenly. But I don’t understand what “A 1 cup mix of fresh herbs” is. Are you saying to use a full cup of chopped herbs? That seems like a lot. As for hazelnuts, what would happen if you just ignored the skins? I’ve never had the nerve to do it, but I am very tempted to try. Has anyone ever done this? If so, please tell!

    1. deb

      spoliedonlychild — Goin intended this as a salad that used a lot of herbs. Her original recipe used more than a cup of them, broken down into 1/4 and 1/2 cups of chives, tarragon, etc. The skins of hazelnuts can be a little bitter but there’s no reason you can’t eat them.

      Karen — I’d say 8 as a first course.

      Cookeroo — I haven’t tried this with dried mushrooms. Actually, I’ve only used dried mushrooms occasionally, such as porcini. It seems like 2 pounds would be an awful lot to rehydrate… but if you try it, report back so others will know if they have the same question. Thanks.

      SoupAddict — Thanks so much. It’s getting painfully obvious that I have no time to thoroughly edit posts anymore but I appreciate the heads-up(s)! I completely agree about the chestnuts. Even if I could find them here, I know most people cannot so it’s best to save that version of the salad for next December. I’m so on it.

  34. Jean Marie

    Mmmm. This salad looks so good and will be the perfect side for some big old steaks that we are grilling tomorrow night (after we shovel the rest of the path to the grill). My oldest “baby” is home for the weekend and I’m spoiling him. He lives about a block and a half from your favorite restaurant and loves it too!

  35. Wow, this has just tipped my reasons to invest in a copy of Sunday Suppers with Lucques over the edge. I absolutely adore cooked mushrooms and green salads that include cooked vegetables (although I suppose mushrooms aren’t technically a vegetable), yet something like this had never occurred to me. Thank you (especially for the suggestions for weeknight-ifying it – always appreciated)!!

  36. Emily Carroll


    I’ve been reading your blog and making the recipes religiously for months now, but this is the first time I have commented. I’d say that over 90% of the recipes on this site work out perfectly for me.

    I just wanted to say that I LOVE it when you post salad recipes (or really any savory recipe). You make a damn fine pie, but these are the meals that can easily and guiltless-ly sustain my boyfriend and me.

    Thank you for posting this recipe!

  37. You are awesome! Thank you for making what could have been an amazingly expensive salad to something that I could justifiably make any night. That’s the best. And I cannot wait to try it out, with a poached egg on it for sure!

  38. Nichole

    Just for the reecord, EVERY picture of Jacob makes me want a baby! It’s really not a good thing, since I don’t want a baby (right now) the other 99.9% of the time

  39. Judy

    Once again you have saved me….having slightly (not really “slightly” at all but I am being kind, its Lent) food snobby people over for dinner soon. She is always a bit sniffy over my “peasant cookery”. This should impress without looking like I am trying to, dont you think? HA! Victory is mine!
    ps – want to register one tiny complaint – no baby pic? The recipe is always better with a picture of Mr. Gorgeous…..

  40. Great idea, found your post just in time because I had to find a salad recipefor a blog event. I made some changes, used lamb’s lettuce and miner’s lettuce, and avoided the towel mess by using cashew nuts.
    And, I stripped down cheese, nuts, and oil portions. Over here in Europe, we’re not used to the rich way you make your salads ;)

    And, I have to practice taking pictures, compared to yours :o

  41. B

    @Judy just click on the highlighted words “little pilot” for your Jacob pic. There’s ALWAYS a baby pic in every post!
    And may I add my congrats as well for all the SK recognition. I’ve been peddling your site like crazy, to anyone who’ll listen. Kudos to you!

  42. Christine

    Hi Deb (and E.!) re: peeling hazelnuts – I dump the hot nuts into a dish towel and leave them there for 20 minutes or so (essentially let them cool in there). Then the skins pretty much rub right off! If I’m impatient I end up with frustration and sometimes even blistered fingertips from trying to roll and rub hot nuts, but if I’m patient and leave them alone, it’s a far easier experience.

  43. laurel

    Made this for dinner last night–it was heavenly! Added a poached egg on top, and the warm egg and warm mushrooms were perfect for a cold and gloomy night’s dinner.

  44. ohhhh my god….this looks amazing! I love to make salads for lunch, but they’re usually cold, not warm, and they don’t look this delicious..I will definitely try this soon with friends!!

  45. Christyna

    I just made this for lunch today for my friend and I. It was absolutely delicious :) Thank you! I used arugula, and a combination of mushrooms that I acquired at the farmers’ market this morning: Shitake, Maitake, Oyster, Black Trumpets, and Chantrelle mushrooms. I also used gruyere cheese. I’ve been wanting to get some mushrooms into my diet, and this was a perfect opportunity. Thanks again for the recipe.

  46. Elizabeth

    Made the salad tonight in the “mostly” fancy way. Mostly just cut back on the fresh herbs because it seemed a bit over the top for my personal tastes.

    I found the end product a little heavy on the oil when it was finished. I’d also season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper BEFORE throwing it into the pan next time; the salt didn’t quite have a chance to “smooth out,” so to speak.

    Otherwise, perfection. Even the meateater had no complaints!

  47. Hi Deb!

    I was just having a headache from what to make for lunch. Thanks for solving the problem! I love mushrooms and definitely lovee warm salads. Especially when it’s warm, since it’s always more inviting than a cold salad. :)

  48. magpie

    Also good with goat’s curd or cheese (soft, not crumbly) – and walnuts as Hayley notes upthread. In this case I’d use a bit less butter, (there’s still enough – and enough oo to do the job). Depending on how hot the salad is, the cheese may melt into the greens slighly, a really nice creamy contrast to the still slightly crunchy greens and herbs esp the thyme.

  49. Barbara in N. FL

    I LOVE this recipe, Deb. It’s about as good as it gets for me. Mushrooms, always have some around and love the other ingredients as well. Thanks for working out the more affordable version. Oops, out of mushrooms, better go shopping! Yum.

  50. This “humble” salad sounds like the kind of salad that I would not be able to stop eating. And I really do appreciate that it can be used with cheaper ingredients than the original (though the original sounds pretty phenomenal).

  51. Hey Deb? On a “couldn’t be less-related to this yummy-looking salad recipe” note: I started reading Smitten from “Freedom Ringing” (that’s the beginning, yes?) the other day and am wondering about the Chocolate Orbit cake you mention very early on. Is it fabulous — with the modifications you mention — or just another very good flourless chocolate cake? I’m always looking for the next better recipe of this ilk… Thanks!

  52. I am always looking for new vegetarian recipes for when I have my vegetarian BFF over for dinner… this one looks like a beautiful and impressive starter! I will definitely be making this. Thank you for sharing!

  53. B

    thanks for the recipe Deb, I have tried th Salmon salad and a kabocha squash salad from the book, but never even noticed this one. this was doable in a day unlike the others I tried which required some advance planning and prep.

  54. Danielle

    I made this over the weekend and my husband loved it. This is the first dish that he ever requested me to make for him in the future ‘again and again’. I used slivered almonds instead of hazelnuts.

  55. Courtney

    I’ve got some leftover gruyere from the cauliflower and caramelized onion tart that I think would be perfect for this! I can’t wait to try the shallot vinegarette!!

  56. Catherine M

    I made this last night using spinach and cremini mushrooms and a white balsamic vinegar because that’s what I had. It was utterly delicious. The only difficult part was shelling the hazelnuts–clearly I’m missing a critical technique because my kitchen was like a battlefield, with nut shell shrapnel flying all over the place. Had to chase the poor dog out so she wasn’t inadvertently a casualty. But, no lives were lost and the salad was worth it.

  57. britta

    This salad was delicious. If you’re thinking about giving it a try, do it! It was enough for me for dinner on a Tuesday night. Thanks Deb!

  58. Pat J-K

    Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe!!! The salad received many “oohs and ahhs” and will include it as part of a Birthday Feast next week. Made a couple of substitutions based on ingredient availability: toasted pecans, baby spinach, and used walnut oil for the vinaigrette… Much thanks. Love your blog!

  59. Anjali

    Absolutely wonderful! I just had this for dinner & improvised a bit with what I had in the kitchen & it was delicious & quick. Thank you for sharing.

  60. Julie

    Just made this for a small impromptu dinner gathering tonight – it was a HUGE hit!

    The only thing I did differently was boil the hazelnuts in water with baking soda for a few minutes to get the skins off, because I don’t have the patience to roast n’ rub!

  61. Courtney

    I made this for dinner last night, with the gruyere and it was fantastic! I’ll definitely be making this on a regular basis. Thanks for the recipe!!

    1. deb

      I’d use whichever ones you enjoy the most — as I mentioned, however, this recipe works great with even the simplest mushrooms. Maybe a mix of button and shiitake?

  62. Thanks, Deb. I know you said this could do with just about anything that one enjoys, but I wanted to know a flavour combination that would be “Deb certified” :) Given that i haven’t been exposed to a whole lot of them (I wish I had a kitchen to cook from when I was in NYC – loved what I saw at Union Square Greenmarket!), I just wanted to make sure I don’t end up with something that’s hit the bin. Shiitake and button it is!

  63. Colleen

    I made this last night for a first course and it was fabulous. I cooked the different types of mushrooms — cremini, delftree, mitsatake (sp?), baby shitake, and hedgehog all separately and just stirred the enoki into the hot mushrooms (yeah Russo’s in Watertown, MA for carrying so many tasty mushrooms and skinned hazelnuts). I did the second cooking with all of the mushrooms mixed together.

    I would disagree with Deb on the number of servings and would say it serves 5-6 as a first course rather than 8 (dinner was 4 courses). I think that this would also make a nice vegetarian main course with a bit more protein (tempeh cooked nice and crunchy?) thrown in. It has a satisfying meatiness to it.

  64. I made this salad this week as well, using local mushrooms and arugula. It was a delicious main dish for 4, and 2 additional side dishes! I stored the components separately, and warmed the mushrooms again for each meal. Thanks for the recipe!

  65. Terrilyn

    I made this last night and in my hurry to get dinner on the table I forgot to sprinkle on the hazelnuts. It was so wonderful and had everyone licking their plates even with out the hazelnuts! I can’t wait to try it again and get all the ingredients on the plate.

  66. Michelle

    This was unbelievably delicious. I’m going back to the store today to get ingredients for a big batch of mushrooms and dressing for salads all week. I used mizuna and arugula, cremini mushrooms, hazelnuts left over from the farmers’ market, and white balsamic vinegar from Trader Joe’s. I put a few thin slices of pecorino on top, but I found that I really didn’t need it. I’m trying to avoid dairy, so it’s nice not to miss it!

  67. v

    I made this a few days ago with my cooking partner in crime, and all we could find at the store were “extra large hazelnuts”. We put them in the oven, as instructed, and could not take the skin of….turns out we had to crack the nuts FIRST, and then put them in! We quickly threw out the first batch, used a garlic press (all that was on hand!) to crack the nuts, and put together a fresh batch! Delicious salad, we kept all the ingredients, and it had beautiful flavors!

  68. Hayley

    i made this tonight with spinach, rehydrated shiitake and toasted almond slices. it was DELICIOUS.

    Seriously, Deb, you’re my first stop to culinary delight. You’re making my grad school life so much better!! Millions of thanks :)

  69. Dee

    One section left out right after, 1 tsp of thyme or a couple pinches of___? Of what?? Do you think portobello mushrooms would work with this recipe? How about walnuts, other type of onion if no shallots available, and versus sherry or white wine vinegar, what about champagne vinegars? I love your style of improvisation using whats available in the market that is a little more on the budget side thinking.

  70. i grossly over-simplified this dish for dinner tonight and it was still amazing. so much better than an earlier attempt i had attempted on my own a month or so ago.