I LOVE mushrooms!
I had to adjust to a lot of things when I first moved to Pakistan (worthy of an entire blog on its own!) and one of those things was the lack of fresh mushrooms (I kid you not, this was an actual problem for me). Ok, “lack” is not entirely true; you do get fresh mushrooms in Pakistan, BUT:
a) only in select grocery stores, which run out pretty quickly (I sometime phone up in advance and ask them to hide a box for me!);
b) being a novelty item, you get a handful of mushrooms for the price of a box of mushrooms in London; and
c) you don’t get a variety, just your regular closed-cup kind.
I was faced with the prospect of eating tinned mushrooms for months. Yuck. So my amazing mum asked around and helped me hunt down a market famed for expat foods before she left which, along with extortionately priced exported goods from Tesco, also sells mushrooms! And so my slight obsession with mushrooms began. I mean, I’ve always loved them, but you know when something isn’t easily available you suddenly you become obsessed with it? Yep. That’s me all over.
When in London (as I am right now), there is a box of mushrooms ALWAYS in the fridge. It gives me a sense of calm to open the fridge door and see them there. Seriously.
So the other day I also had some filo (phyllo?!) pastry lying around and threw together this recipe for dinner with a friend. They looked pretty cute on our plates, next to roast chicken, vegetables and a leafy salad!
You could try these if you’re doing finger food for a party… And you can vary the recipe by chopping up the mushrooms as the Pioneer Woman does, who even adds some parmesan cheese. I’m going to try that next time. You could also make bigger bundles with larger mushrooms, like portobello (as a side note, WordPress is telling me it doesn’t recognise the word “portobello.” Um, what?! The nerve!) so there’s definitely room for playing around with the recipe, and if you do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.
8 mushrooms (whatever kind takes your fancy. I went for organic closed cup. Try and choose something you can easily wrap the filo around. So chanterelles, for example, won’t really work)
150g filo pastry (about half a standard pack)
1tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp minced garlic
Generous pinch of garam masala*
Salt to taste
*see the ingredients section in my Fusion Pasta recipe for more info on this spice. You can use freshly ground black pepper instead if your prefer.
First of all, preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celcius (approx. 340 degrees Fahrenheit). Mix your garlic and butter together really well. It should be of an easily spreadable consistency. Set aside. Grab your mushrooms and season them well with the salt and garam masala. Don’t just sprinkle it on top; really rub it over the mushrooms well.
Now, open out the filo pastry and cut it half lengthways, so you’re left with two, long rectangular stacks. You’ll only need one these halves, so put the other back in the fridge. Then, cut the pastry into thirds, so you have three small stacks of square-ish shaped filo (see photo above).
Take a sheet at a time and brush on some of the garlic butter. You don’t want to go overboard and soak the sheets, just a light brushing. Top with another sheet and repeat, then repeat once more. So altogether you’ll have three sheets of filo.
Put a mushroom (stalk facing upwards) into the middle, and scrunch up the pastry around the mushroom. To do this, I like to put the stack in my palm and then use my other hand to bring up the filo around the sides of the mushroom.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and lay your bundles onto it. Then, use some of your remaining garlic butter to brush the tops. This will make them go a gorgeous brown colour when baked. Bake for approx. 12 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked and the tops have browned. In my oven this took 12 minutes, but take it up to 15 if necessary.
Fellow mushroom lovers, here are some other recipes with this ingredient that sound really good: