This is a savory, meaty spread that pairs beautifully with Pinot Noir (and Champagne!) It's also nice to have something vegetarian on the "charcuterie plate" besides cheese! Anyway, I knew I had a hit when the teens scarfed this down at a holiday party several years back. I've made it many times for wine tasting events and the only reason I didn't share it with you earlier is that I have always just eye-balled the measurements. I just made a batch so that I could write down the amounts, but I'm sure I'll go back to winging it next time. It's not possible to mess it up. And the magic part? This actor is happy to play many parts. I've turned this into a delicious, filling mushroom bisque by adding some stock, milk and brown rice. It is also delicious in a mini puff-pastry shell, baked in the oven.
Mushroom Walnut Paté
2 ½ ounces walnut pieces (a little over ½ cup)
1 cup diced shallot
2-3 T olive oil
1 lb sliced cremini mushrooms
½ tsp salt
½ tsp dried thyme
3 T cream cheese (or soy cream cheese to make it vegan)
Toast walnuts, briefly until they take on a little color and smell toasty. Place in a food processor and process until they resemble very small crumbs. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat until oil is shimmering. Add shallots and sauté until soft. Add salt and thyme, stir, then add mushrooms and continue to sauté until soft. Add mushrooms to the food processor along with walnut and process until mixture looks spreadable. Add cream cheese, process, and taste. The mixture should be very spreadable but you can certainly add a splash of milk or cream. Add plenty of salt to taste and serve at room temperature with crackers or crostini.
Makes 2 cups.