I Chef’d a private party recently for some folks who really know their mushrooms. So much so, that they even supplied me with some. A whole bunch of mushrooms – fresh cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms as well as dried morels and porcinis – very generous of them, to feature in the evenings menu. Now I love mushrooms, always have, and I usually sauté them in a little olive oil, butter and chili flake etc., but I could only eat these for so long. So I needed an alternative for these gorgeous cremini mushrooms (a lot of them) that were staring me in the face. They don’t typically have a long shelf life when fresh so I needed to use them up in other ways. Here’s a creative (creative to me anyway :)) use of mushrooms as a lovely and tasty hors d ‘oeuvres. So easy to put together, so delicious.

I picked mushrooms from the box with a diameter of about a looney or twoney and with a few ingredients in my fridge and came up with these. I used a mini muffin tin to get the salami (if you have hot salami – even better) to stay in a floral shape. It was the perfect size and baked well, 5 minutes at 400f. Don’t bake longer as the salami will burn. Use your imagination, there was no stopping me when I started (please share your ideas). I must confess I originally intended to make mushroom purses using the salami instead of phyllo or puff pastry, but the salami wasn’t big enough (or the mushroom wasn’t small enough). For filling the mushroom and salami I used goat cheese, mozzarella and topped with tiny thyme sprigs (only after they come out of the oven) and grapes – yes grapes. I couldn’t wait to share this with you, but you just know there will be some with chili infused goat cheese or cheddar in the cards.

1 lb small mushrooms – cremini or white button
Equal number of slices of round cut salami – spicy salami would be great, I used regular but poured a bit of chili oil on top
Goat cheese and/or grated cheddar or mozzarella
Toppings – thyme sprigs, grapes cut in half, balsamic glaze
Mini muffin tin

For the flower shapes:
Carefully remove the stem from the mushroom, use a knife if you have to
Place it in the middle of the salami and press into the mini muffin tin hole
Top with a dollop of goat cheese, paint with some chili or olive oil – continue to fill the tray

For the rolls:
Carefully remove the stem
Using a small thin bladed knife, cut around the hole left by the stem and push through – be careful, the mushroom is fragile and will easily split in half – I lost a few (still made them and they tasted great)
Place the salami on the cutting board, put a little grated cheese in the middle and roll up the salami
Push the rolled up salami gently through the hole in the mushroom – continue
Dab some oil – olive or chili or some other flavor, onto the mushroom – continue until finished

For the mushroom pocket squares (it reminded me of my days when I would always put one in my suit jacket):
Remove the stem and cut through as with the rolls above
Scrunch up (technical term here) the salami and put it into the whole, fill with some goat cheese, top with half a grape – continue until done

For all the above – bake at 400f for 5 minutes – watch that the salami doesn’t burn
Some tips when making:
If the salami is hard to fold or scrunch or roll, put it on a plate and microwave for 10 second bursts – once should be enough depending on how thick the slices are
The taste – well, you have the saltiness of the cheese plus the spice of the salami plus the meaty texture of the mushroom – you do the math!
Put the thyme leaf sprig on after it comes out of the oven otherwise it will burn
Drizzle the platter with the balsamic glaze or just the individual mushrooms
As always – enjoy!

Mushrooms 4


Mushrooms 2

Mushrooms 3