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Portobello Tapenade

The mushroom variation of the rough Provencal caper-and-black-olive puree called tapenade is less intense than the traditional one, but just as habit-forming. Make it at least one day in advance to allow the flavors to develop. Serve it as a topping for baked potatoes or sliced tomatoes and stuffed into hard-cooked eggs. Or do what the French do: spread it on small slices of crusty peasant bread as an appetizer.

7 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds portobello mushrooms
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (such as parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary and oregano)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 pound (about 36) brine-cured black Greek Kalamata olives, pitted
2 tablespoons small capers, drained
5 oil-pack anchovy fillets, drained
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and reserve for another use. Coarsely chop the mushrooms.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, tossing and stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to render their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, lower the heat slightly, and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender, about 7 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

In a food processor combine the mushroom mixture, olives, capers, anchovies and lemon juice and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, add the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil; the mixture will thicken. Do not over-process; some texture should remain.

Transfer the tapenade to a container, cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

"The Mushroom Book," by Michael McLaughlin

Thursday, August 19, 1999



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