Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with Soft Herbs, Pecorino, and Hazelnuts

Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with Soft Herbs, Pecorino, and Hazelnuts

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Recipe by Stephen Pavy

Serves: 6

Serve with
'Fogdog' Pinot Noir
Joseph Phelps Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Note: some of the prep work can be done ahead of time, but the final work and assembly must be done immediately prior to serving.

½ cup Blanched hazelnuts (no skins)
2 Tbsp. Finely diced shallots
3 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar
9 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs. Wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, black trumpets, or hedgehogs, cleaned
2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter
2 tsp. Thyme leaves
6 oz. Mixed salad of Treviso, dandelion greens, and frisée, cleaned and dried
¼ cup Tarragon leaves
¼ Chervil sprigs
½ cup Flat leaf parsley leaves
¼ cup ½ inch chive batonnets
¼ cup Sliced shallots
¼ lb. Hunk Pecorino di Grotta or other pecorino
  Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet 8 – 10 minutes, tossing them once or twice, until they smell nutty and are a light golden brown. Let them cool, then chop the nuts coarsely.

Place the diced shallots, sherry vinegar, and ½ tsp. salt in a bowl, and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in 5 Tbsp. olive oil and set aside.

If the mushrooms are large, tear them into smaller (1 – 1½ inch) pieces. (They’ll shrink once they’re cooked, so don’t make them too small.)

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and heat another minute. Swirl in 1 Tbsp. butter, and when it foams, scatter half the mushrooms in the pan. Season with 1 tsp. thyme, ¾ tsp. salt, and a healthy pinch of pepper. Sauté the mushrooms about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re tender and a little crispy. They should not be soggy. (The cooking time will depend on the particular mushrooms you use.) Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a plate, and repeat with the second batch.

Meanwhile, place the salad and herbs in a large salad bowl.

When the second batch of mushrooms is done, add the first batch back to the pan. Cook for another minute or two to heat thoroughly, then toss in the sliced shallots. Spoon the hot mushrooms over the salad. Return the pan to the stove and add three-quarters of the vinaigrette, swirling the pan to heat it. When the dressing is very warm, pour it over the salad. Season with ¼ tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss carefully to dress the salad and mushrooms, and taste for seasoning. You may need a little more salt, pepper, vinaigrette, or straight sherry vinegar.

Arrange half the salad on a large platter. Use a vegetable peeler to shave some pecorino over the salad, and sprinkle half the hazelnuts over that. Place the remaining salad on top, and finish with shavings of cheese and the rest of the nuts.