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Mushroom Zucchini Tapenade
Jun 29th, 2006

Mushrooms have been much on my brain lately. I love mushrooms, their meaty savory taste and their spongelike ability to soak up the flavors of any cooking medium, but I don't think I've cooked with them more than once or twice in the past few years. Jim really can't stand the texture, and after too many little bags of mushroomy goodness went slimey in my fridge, I just got out of the habit of buying them.

Recently some little button mushrooms have started appearing in my CSA produce delivery. I stashed them in the fridge and forgot about them and they would probably have completed their inevitable transformation into a brown bag of slime were it not for a serendipitous phone call from my friend Steph asking for ideas about what to do with her own glut of mushrooms. I immediately thought of a mushroom tapenade, something briny with olives, and mixed with plenty of olive oil which would hold the paste a while in the fridge. Steph liked the idea, and her resulting tapenade was pressed into service in some delicious sounding sandwiches (described here in the comments).

Then Elise at Simply Recipes posted a lovely picture and recipe for Mushroom Caviar, a kissing cousin of tapenade but made with white wine, butter, and garlic. Somehow those two ideas became one in my fevered brain, and (just in the nick of time) the mushrooms were rescued from their slimey demise and pressed into service in the form of this Mushroom Zucchini Tapenade (or Caviar). Frankly I don't know if this is best described as a tapenade, caviar, relish, dip, spread, or salad, but it's delicious both warm and cold, either treated like a dip and spooned up with toasted flatbread, or spread on a chicken breast as a relish, or tossed with pasta and sprikled with parmiggiano cheese. I've been eating it for lunch all week along with flatbread and red lentil dip.

At lunch today I looked down at my plate and considered the fact that not only had I made the bread, the lentil dip, and the mushroom tapenade, but the tapenade was made with homemade garlic sage oil, the garlic reserved from making said oil, and homemade grainy mustard from the great homemade gift-giving bonanza that was last Christmas. Sometimes this whole food blogging thing can feel a little out of control, but the side effects are definitely delicious.

*I just noticed that Nic at Baking Sheet has posted another take on Elise's mushroom caviar. Apparently I'm not the only one with mushrooms on my brain this week.


Mushroom Zucchini Tapenade

4 cups mushrooms, cut into very small dice
2 cups zuchinni, cut into very small dice
1/2 red onion, cut into very small dice (a large shallot would work nicely here too)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 - 4 cloves garlic, depending on your level of garlic love
sea salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped black olives
2 tbsp capers, rinsed
2 tbsp mustard, grainy or Dijon type
splash of white wine


Chop and chop and chop until your vegetables are all prepared. I suppose this could be accomplished in a food processor, but I wouldn't know for sure, not owning one of those new-fangled devices.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pan and add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender. Make room in the middle of the pan, add a bit more butter and oil if you'd like, and add the zuchinni and olives. Stir those around until they're nicely oiled up, then start stirring everything around together. Cook until the zucchini are tender and then add a sprinkling of sea salt.

Mix in the capers, mustard, and a splash of white wine and cook for a few more minutes. Taste and add more mustard or salt as necessary. Serve warm or cold with toasted flat bread and a green salad, or toss with some penne pasta, red pepper flakes, and parmiggiano cheese.

-Kymm
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© 2006, Kimberly Cooperrider | kymmco@excite.com