For thrifty, veggie-loving cooks like me, signing up for a CSA share is the way to go. Sure, it can be a daunting investment up front, but it’s often the best deal for local and fresh produce you’ll find in the city. And there’s always unanticipated surplus along the way.
Some weeks, there’s tons of pears, other weeks, it’s parsley (hello, freezer full of parsley pesto!). Last week, I found myself particularly lucky. There were crimini mushrooms that needed a home, and I was up for the task.
For one blissful week, I was in mushroom heaven, and even after mushroom quiche and tarragon mushroom stir-fry, I still had about a pound of mushrooms left. For the next dish, I wanted something festive, and kind of classy. Spreadable, perhaps?
And so, inspired by a rich and flavorful vegan “faux gras” that I sampled at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg, I tried my hand at mushroom, lentil, walnut, and mushroom paté. It was perfect for the dinner party I hosted, and for noshing throughout the week. Some said it was as good as any chicken liver paté or chopped liver they’d ever had.
1 cups French lentils, cooked (you’ll need 1/2 cup raw lentils)
4 cups crimini or button mushrooms (or a mix of your favorites), washed; stems and caps sliced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 Tbsp golden miso paste
2 Tbsp boiling water
1 cup walnuts
2 Tbsp Tamari or soy sauce, or more to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
several twists of fresh black pepper
fresh parsley, to garnish
Cook your lentils ahead of time. Cover 1/2 cup dry lentils with a few inches of water and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a cast iron skillet or deep dished frying pan. Add onions and cook until translucent and golden. Add garlic and mushrooms, and another 2 Tbsp of oil (try coconut if you have). Sauté for 1 minute.
In a small bowl, whisk with a fork 2 Tbsp boiling water and 1 Tbsp miso paste. Add this mixture to the pan. Add herbs, and continue stir frying for 4-5 more minutes, or until mushrooms are well-coated and tender. If you find that the mushrooms need more more moisture, add a few dashes of soy sauce or more water. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add walnuts, stirring frequently. Cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant and golden. Remove immediately from the pan and let cool.
Add lentils, toasted nuts, and mushroom mixture (slightly cooled by now) to a food processor or blender. Add soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, and black pepper to taste. Blend until you’ve reached your desired consistency–I prefer it slightly chunky. You might prefer it smoother, like hummus.
You might find that your mixture needs more liquid, in which case add more soy sauce or vinegar. If you have a salt tooth like me, you’ll want to add a pinch or two of salt. Scoop into a serving bowl and garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy with crudité or crackers.