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Using Multiple Mushrooms

April 17, 2002|ABBY MANDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Mushrooms add interesting flavors to dishes, and different mushrooms, treated in different ways, even more so.

These recipes use three different mushrooms. The panini, topped with portabellos, make a satisfying, casual meal. Marta Curca, a friend from Romania, makes this unusual mushroom soup with wild mushrooms and white mushrooms. It's substantial but not heavy. When buying mushrooms, be sure to choose those that are blemish-free with a fresh, smooth, firm surface. Always refrigerate fresh mushrooms. If they are wrapped in plastic, remove it before storing them. Leave them exposed to the air in the container or wrap in paper towels.

When ready to use, try to brush fresh mushrooms clean; wash them only if they're especially dirty by placing them in a colander and quickly rinsing with cold water. Dry with paper towels. Trim off any bruised spots, tough or dirty ends or edges, and the stem if it looks dry. Remove the dry fibrous end of a portabello stem and its gills. Use a melon baller or a grapefruit spoon to remove the gills.

*

Grilled Panini With Roasted Portabello

Mushrooms and Red Onions

Active Work Time: 45 minutes

Total Preparation Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes * Vegetarian

BASIL VINAIGRETTE

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Combine the basil leaves, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper in a mini-processor. Add the oil; mix well. (This can be made a few hours ahead and left at room temperature.) Set aside 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons for the mushrooms and onions.

PANINI

4 large portabello mushrooms, about 1 pound 4 ounces, stems trimmed, gills removed

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

8 thin slices rustic bread

36 leaves baby arugula, about 2 ounces, stems trimmed

4 ounces Fontina cheese, thinly sliced

Coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

Dried red pepper flakes

Olive oil spray

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Brush both sides of the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of the reserved vinaigrette. Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the onion slices in a bowl; toss with the remaining reserved tablespoon of vinaigrette. Mound them on the baking sheet with the mushrooms.

Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the onions are cooked down but still retain some texture, about 25 to 30 minutes. Set them aside until cool enough to handle, then cut the mushrooms on the bias into 4 to 5 slices. Coarsely chop the onions. (This can be done several hours ahead; keep at room temperature.)

To assemble, brush some vinaigrette on the bread. Divide the onions evenly and spread them on 4 slices. Arrange the arugula on each to cover, dividing evenly. Layer the cheese over each. Fan each portabello, overlapping, over the cheese. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Close the panini. (This can be done several hours ahead.)

Spray oil on a large grill pan or frying pan. Heat until hot over medium heat; lightly spray oil on the outer surfaces of the panini. Cook, covered, until browned on one side, 3 minutes; turn, gently compress, then brown the other side, about 3 minutes more.

Let rest 5 minutes before cutting in half. Serve hot.

4 servings. Each serving: 370 calories; 757 mg sodium; 33 mg cholesterol; 18 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 38 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams protein; 3.98 grams fiber.

*

Mushroom Soup With Fresh Dill and Parsley

Active Work Time: 50 minutes

Total Preparation Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes * Vegetarian

2/3 cup dried mixed wild mushrooms

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 onion, chopped

1 pound white mushrooms, stems slightly trimmed, thinly-sliced

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1 baking potato, peeled, cubed

1/3 cup flour

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/3 cup sour cream mixed with 1 egg yolk

1/3 cup minced parsley

1/3 cup minced fresh dill

Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Cook the onion until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the sliced mushrooms; cook until they exude moisture, about 6 minutes. Stir in the dried mushrooms. Measure the reserved mushroom liquid with water to make 4 1/2 cups. Add to the pot. Add the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, half-covered, for 30 minutes.

Cook the potato in simmering water until soft, about 15 minutes; reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Mash the potato until smooth; stir in the liquid.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a small nonstick pan over medium heat until light brown; stir in the flour. Cook 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic; cook until the garlic just starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the reserved potato mixture.

Stir the mushrooms into the flour mixture. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Drizzle 1/2 cup of the hot soup into the sour cream mixture, stirring constantly. Slowly stir back into the soup. Add the parsley and dill. If the soup is too thick, add more water.

10 to 12 servings. Each of 12 servings: 80 calories; 401 mg sodium; 26 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 1.02 grams fiber.

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