Mushrooms a la Grecque (vegan)
Cold mushrooms? Like those little pots you sometimes get in the deli? A bit suspect? Texture like flannel? Not at all, think again!
This is how it goes…. mushrooms in a rich tomato sauce, scented with herbs and garlic; a back-note of spice and salt. Dip your bread into the sauce, oily and fragrant. Take a mushroom on your fork – tender but a subtle hint of resistance, almost meaty as you chew. Take another, easy to eat, heading eagerly down your throat. Oh, they’re all gone…better make a bigger batch for tomorrow.
Simple to make ahead, to use as part of a salad spread with some cold meats, green salad, cheese, good bread. I’ve found that even mushroom-suspecting kids like these, given the chance. I think it’s the tomato sauce that does it, slightly sweet, slightly sour, slightly salty. And use small button mushrooms – the bigger open ones just aren’t right.
You can also use this as a starter, with good bread and a rocket salad, but if it’s all you’re serving you’d need to be sure you don’t have any outright mushroom-refusers.
Serves 6 as part of a mixed salad table, and leftovers can be brought out for another day. Timings – 30 minutes preparation, 30 minutes cooking, then keep cold until using.
Fry the onions gently in the olive oil, not letting them brown. It will take about 15 minutes to get them to the transparent oily stage. Add the chopped garlic and the dried herbs.
Peel or clean the mushrooms, and cut up, depending on their size. Keep smaller ones whole, halve larger ones. Add to the onion mixture and stir around, frying gently for 2-3 minutes until coated with oil and turning soft.
Add the tomatoes and their juice to the pan, then the red wine and the tomato puree. Stir well and adjust the seasoning. Add the fresh herbs.
Cook over a low heat, but keep it bubbling, for about half an hour, until the liquid is markedly reduced. Taste seasoning again, adding more basil at this stage if you like it.
Cool and keep in a closed container until needed. The taste is best if you let it warm up to room temperature before serving, so take it out of the fridge half an hour before eating if you can.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.