A simple-to-make mushroom pâté, which I first sampled more than 30 years ago, looks and tastes just as good today as it did way back then. I served it twice this past week, once at the graduation party that I wrote about in my last post and again this weekend when we had house guests.
This is my “go to” appetizer because it’s takes only a few minutes to prepare, can be made ahead, and has an incredibly delectable taste. As an added bonus, none of the ingredients are hard to find or costly. You sauté chopped mushrooms, green onions, and garlic in butter, then simmer them
in chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock for a pure vegetarian version). This sautéed mélange is then combined with softened cream cheese and chives and placed in a ramekin or shaped into a rectangle. For serving you spread this creamy pâté on garlic-rubbed toasted croutons.
White mushrooms were called for in the original version, but I now use crimini for extra flavor. You can double or triple the recipe with no problems. Keep it in mind as a great opener for summer entertaining.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions, including 2 inches of the green stems
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/3 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons minced chives plus 1 teaspoon for the garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
18 baguette slices, cut 3/8 inch thick
Olive oil for brushing on the croutons
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet set over medium high heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring, to soften 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green onions and garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add the stock and cook until all the liquid has evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and cool mushrooms in the skillet to room temperature.
Stir the cream cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons butter together in a mixing bowl until blended. Add the cooled mushroom mixture, 2 tablespoons chives, plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine. Cover and chill the mixture until it is very firm. Then mold into a rectangle about 4 inches by 2 inches high. Or, mound the mushroom mixture in a 1-cup ramekin and cover. (Pâté can be prepared 2 days ahead; bring to room temperature 30 minutes before serving.)
For croutons, arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet. Brush both sides of each generously with olive oil. Bake 5 minutes, then turn and bake 5 minutes more until croutons are golden and crisp.
(Croutons can be made 1 day ahead; place in an airtight bag or container at room temperature.)
Garnish the pâté with the remaining teaspoon of chives and serve with the garlic croutons. Serves 6.
Recipe adapted from Betty Rosbottom’s Cooking School Cookbook (Workman 1987)
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