Several months ago, I went into Chinatown for a grocery trip and came out with several bags of dried shiitake, oyster and some other type of mystery mushrooms. I bought so many because they were very cheap yet vaguely exotic at the time, but I’ve since grown kind of tired of looking at them hanging out in my cabinets. So I’ve been thinking of ways to use them up, without having to crank up my stove too high or for an extended period of time, and mushroom pate seemed like an obvious choice. Although the recipe below doesn’t call for very many dried mushrooms, this an excellent way to enjoy them for their unique smoky and woodsy flavor. Perhaps once the weather cools down, I can throw my remaining dried mushroom stash into a clam chowder or a tom kha gai. For now, I’ll enjoy this pate for its earthy taste, rich bite and smooth texture.
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4-1/2 cups dried shiitake mushroom caps, broken into pieces
8 ounces fresh baby portobella mushrooms, quartered
2 shallots, quartered
2 TB olive oil
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 cup walnuts
2 TB vegan cream cheese
1/2 tsp salt
Place the shiitake mushroom pieces into the boiling water and stir to ensure all pieces are moistened. Set aside.
Place the quartered fresh mushrooms and shallots into a food processor. Pulse until well combined.Heat the two tablespoons of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Place the thyme sprigs and smashed garlic into the oil for about 5 minutes, stirring to prevent any browning. Remove the thyme sprigs from the oil and then add the flavored oil and smashed garlic into the food processor, using a rubber spatula. Pulse a few times more.
Return the small saucepan to the stove and add in the walnuts. Over medium heat, toast for about 2-3 minutes, or until you can smell them. Add them to the food processor, along with the dried shiitake mushrooms, straining out any of the remaining liquid.
Add in the vegan cream cheese and salt. Enjoy with toasted baguette slices or crackers. Spread on toast for a perfect light breakfast.