Mushroom Magic for your Antipasto Platter
Now, I don’t want to brag, but last week Ted’s beautiful niece visited and tried these Marinated Mushrooms and said they were the best thing she had ever tasted. Now admittedly, she is young, but I take that as a pretty big compliment! And just quietly, they ARE good! So, I guess I do want to brag just a little, and share the recipe because it is super easy and a very tasty morsel to serve with drinks.
Last weekend we had a gathering of parents from MrL’s school. Now, let me just share, this seemed like a good idea about a month out when I sent out invites. Less so on the eve of the event when I had still not received RSVP’s from a substantial number, and I was unclear if I was catering for 20 or 40! Add to this my aversion to housework, and sudden last minute panic about cleaning. My solution? Companion shopping trips to avoid that activity. Also add in my control freak nature when it comes to food and not wanting anyone to bring anything. Further stress added with the unpredictable weather.
The weekend before had been cold and wet. Not perfect deck entertaining weather. Oh dear! So that meant a kitchen flurry of cooking food that could be reheated. I made Lamb and feta sausage rolls , Spinach and Ricotta Parcels and caramelised Apple and pork Sausage Rolls and popped in the freezer. They just need to be defrosted overnight and then reheated. Too easy!
Antipasto platters usually feature at any of our gatherings. I love an antipasto platter. Easy to put together. Mostly do ahead or deli bought. Lots of choices for even the fussiest of eaters. There are of course, platters that you can order, and I appreciate that everyone is very busy, but they do tend to be high on cost and lower on flavour. By making a few things ahead of time, like the Marinated Mushrooms and Gin Soaked Olives, you hit all the bases on cost, flavour and time. Add in some prosciutto wrapped figs, good quality salami and Caprese bites. (Caprese bites are baby bocconcini wrapped in a fresh basil leaf and skewered with a cherry tomato – fresh and delicious)
The Marinated Mushrooms can be made an hour ahead, but are best left to really soak up the marinade for up to two days. Don’t leave them any longer than that as the texture changes. It is great of you can find baby button mushrooms but I fear they may have become the victim of the supermarkets discarding of imperfect sizes as they are getting harder to find. I usually cut the mushrooms in half, or even quarters if they are larger, so you can pop them into your mouth easily. Give the mushrooms a wipe over with a paper towel, cut to your desired size and place in a bowl.
Now to the marinade. In a glass jug, combine extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar. The taste is important, so go for good quality. I use Red Island which is Australian olive oil. You can experiment with the vinegars too if you like, just be aware that the flavour will come through. I have tried red wine vinegar which is nice but colours the mushrooms. Apple cider Vinegar also works well. Add in some chopped rosemary, crushed garlic and some caster sugar and season with alt and pepper. You can add in some chilli here as well. It gives a great extra pop of colour. Pour over the mushrooms, stir to coat and transfer to a non-reactive bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Pop in the fridge and stir every so often to make sure they are getting equal opportunity to soak up that flavour.
I made a Roast Pumpkin Hummus and Whipped Feta Dip and served with vegetable crudités and fancy corn chips – makes it easy to be gluten free and the Roast Pumpkin Dip also covers any vegan guests. I spent a lot of time with my head in the oven (and no, not because the gathering was a disaster!) so drafting a few kitchen helpers would be a good idea. I am very grateful for my lovely friends who gathered on the day and helped me set up and taste test, and who were willing to step in at the last minute as rent a crowd if noone showed up! Somehow I feel another party coming on…..
- 500g small button mushrooms
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon of caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons of finely chopped red chilli (optional)
- Clean mushrooms with a paper towel and halve if necessary to make bite sized pieces. Place in a non-reactive bowl.
- Mix all the other ingredients together and pour over the mushrooms, stirring to coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but for up to 2 days
- Serve as part of an antipasto platter, in a salad or as an accompaniment to barbecued meats
Rosemary may be substituted with other "woody" herbs such as thyme
Marinating the mushrooms for 2 days optimizes the flavour. Whilst they will keep in the fridge for longer, the texture changes and they are not as firm or pleasant to eat