January 17, 2011

Pairing Party Monday: Mushroom & Goat Cheese Tapas

Happy "Pairing Party Monday!" Today we're warming things up a bit with a tasty Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tapa compliments of our friend Lisa Matthias over at The Novice Nosher. With the winter months in full swing, selecting an appetizer that warms the heart and the belly is sure to be a hit at your next gathering

Chef Elizabeth Brown’s Mushroom & Goat Cheese Tapas

• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 pound large cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered through the stem end
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1/3 cup dry sherry
• 1/4 teaspoon Spanish hot smoked paprika (I didn’t have Spanish paprika on hand; regular works just fine here)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• Minced zest of 1/2 lemon
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 pound fresh goat cheese (I tried this with Laughing Cow Swiss and shaved Parmesan and both also tasted yummy)
• 16 slices baguette (we used a whole-grain baguette and it tasted great with everything else)

Directions (adapted slightly)
Slice baguette and spread the goat cheese on top of each piece. Set aside.
In a large saute pan, melt the butter with olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter froths, add the mushrooms and cook, tossing and stirring frequently, until just cooked through and beginning to brown. This will take 3-5 minutes. My mushrooms ended up browning quicker than my timer set at 4 minutes, so just watch them carefully while continually stirring. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer, or until fragrant. Add the sherry, paprika, parsley, and lemon zest, toss to combine, and stir for 30 seconds, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Take the pan off the heat and spoon about a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture on top of the baguette slices. Or, you can pour the mushroom mixture into a deep bowl or dish and have guests spoon the mixture onto their cheese and bread.

NOVICE NOSHER TIP: For a little guidance on timing when it comes to food prep, be sure to buy enough ingredients according to how many people you'll be serving. This recipe is built for small parties of about 8-10 guests, so if you're hosting more (or just have hungry people on your hands) consider doubling your recipe -- its better to have extra grub than not enough. Also note, these mushroom and goat cheese tapas are best made 30-45 minutes before the party starts - shrooms taste better when warm in the pan.

Winobee Says: This appetizer couples the earthiness of mushrooms with the tanginess of goat cheese, so go for a Pinot Noir which can help to bring out the attributes of both items. Try Orogeny, whose name is actually derived from the Greek variation of "Oro," meaning mountain and "Geny," meaning birth. Sonoma's Orogeny very literally brings to life collisions and separations of the Earth's crust which form mountains. The last orogenic episode in Sonoma County formed Green Valley, where the grapes from this wine come from.

Tasting Notes: This Pinot is super smooth and has lively cranberry and cherry flavors on the palate, balancing with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Cost: $35/bottle
Where to Buy: Wine.com