Submitted by Nicolette Matt
About the cook: I enjoy discovering new ingredients, spices and foraged food finds. My husband and I am currently starting a herb farm in north Florida that specializes in eastern medicinal and culinary herbs.
About the dish: Wild mushrooms, walnuts, lentils, caramelized onions, parmesan, fig come together to make a delicious and versatile spread that can be both elegant and country chic.
National Origin: French
Estimated Time: 30 to 60 Minutes
3/4 cup of Lentils
1 1/2 cup of Stock (Chicken or Vegetable)
1 Onion finely sliced
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 cup fresh Mushrooms (oyster, chanterelle or button)
1/2 to one ounce dried Mushrooms (Hen of the woods, black trumpet, morel, etc)
3 cloves Garlic minced fine
1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme
3 Tablespoons Sherry
3/4 cup Walnuts
4 ounce Parmesan shredded
4-6 dried Figs minced (I used Smyrna figs)
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
In a small pot, bring stock and lentils up to boil. Stir. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook lentils 30-40 minutes or until tender.
Re-hydrate dried mushrooms in just enough warm water so it just about covers them.
While lentils are cooking, caramelize the onion. In a saute pan, add a combination of olive oil and butter until hot but before burning. Add in onion. Sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat and stir occasionally. Midway through cooking, add vinegar and sugar. Stir. Continue cooking at medium low heat until onions become very soft and golden in color (about 20 minutes). Deglaze pan with a little sherry.
Remove onions from heat.
Using same pan, add more olive oil and butter. Saute fresh mushrooms until they begin to brown. Sprinkle with salt. Add in re-hydrated mushrooms along with any liquid that hasn’t been reabsorbed. Cook until there is no longer any liquid in the pan. Add in garlic and thyme. Cook briefly. Do not let burn. Deglaze pan with sherry.
In a food processor or blender, combine walnuts, lentils, mushroom mixture, about a tablespoon of butter and caramelized onion. (You can add onion at the end if you’d like the pate` to be a more rustic texture instead of completely homogeneous.)
Blend until the spread reaches the desired texture.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon into bowl.
On a baking tray lined with parchment paper, make little mounds of parmesan cheese. Make sure the mounds are not too high or too low. Too high and they will be too hard. Too thin and they will break. Bake in preheated oven for 6-7 mintues or until they become a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
Smear a generous amount of pate’ on each crisp, top with minced dried fig and finish with salt and pepper.