Plus, a new Thai noodle house opens on the South Side.
Champinones Gratinados (Mushroom Gratin with Ham Mayonnaise)
The holidays beg for appetizers that are a bit more elegant than those served during the rest of the year. Topped with homemade mayonnaise flavored with dry-cured serrano ham, these roasted mushrooms are amazingly simple to make, and amazingly good. They’ll keep your guests happy while you get the rest of the food on the dinner table.
The larger the mushroom cap, the harder it is to eat in one bite. (Mine were about the size of a moon pie.) So unless you’re serving these apps on plates, with forks and knives for easy eating, choose smaller mushrooms.
4 large or 8 small portobello mushrooms, stalks trimmed
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves separated
1 spring onion, green part only, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
1 clove garlic
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
4 slices serrano ham, roughly chopped, with 1/4 reserved
2/3 cup olive oil
Place mushrooms on roasting tray and sprinkle with sea salt, a bit of black pepper, the fresh thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. Place in cold oven and set temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make mayo: Blend egg yolk, garlic clove, salt, lemon juice and 3/4 ham in a food processor and then start to add oil in a slow, thin and steady stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick, about 8 minutes
Remove mushrooms from oven and sprinkle with chopped green onion. Top with a generous dollop of the ham mayo and reserved chopped ham, and return to oven for a good 5 minutes, or until top has nicely browned.
Serves 4 as an appetizer.
— Adapted from “Spanish Made Simple: Foolproof Spanish Recipes for Every Day” by Omar Allibhoy (Quadrille, $24.99)