Mushrooms baked in vine leaves

Of all the stuff I picked over the weekend, the most exotic by far, for me, have been the vine leaves.
I´d never seen them used, except to make dolmades. And the mere idea of tackling something so time consuming is enough to send me into a swoon. I try not to roll and stuff too many things, for the sake of my mental health.
Then last year I read a recipe in Elisabeth David´s
 Of pageants and picnics (best title ever?), and was very intrigued. Sceptical , even.
She claimed that baking ordinary button or flat mushrooms with vine leaves would make them taste wild and woodsy and utterly different. Of course I deeply respect la David for the giant of gastronomic culture she is, but I thought here she was just trying to be cool and Mediterranean.
But since I happened to be in the country at the time, reading her book under an actual trellis of vine leaves, I thought, why not?

And I was instantly converted. It´s my kind of favourite recipe, the sort that is almost not a recipe but a set of recommendations. As long as you have vine leaves, the process is simple in the extreme, and the outcome, just as surprisingly good as was promised.

I´ve lost the book, since it´s one of those flimsy paperbacks that are easily swallowed by sofas, left on trains, or forgotten in the pocket of a winter handbag. But luckily I was so taken by the recipe that I wrote it down in my favourite recipes notebook.

Preheat the oven to 200º. Boil water, and blanch the leaves for about a minute. Drain.

Clean the mushrooms, and cut the stems off. Line the bottom of a baking dish with half the vine leaves. Put the mushrooms on top, the caps in one piece, and the stems on their own , and a few whole garlic cloves scattered in between. Add salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil and cover with a second layer of leaves.
Cover the tray . I use an earthenware round dish that´s the same size as a cooking pot, and the lid fits perfectly, but you can cover it with foil.
Leave for about an hour.

11 comentarios:

jenjen dijo...

How interesting, I don't suppose you can get vine leaves at the local supermarket? I think a trip to the country is in order, this recipe sounds very nice. I love mushrooms and am always interested in new ways in which to cook them.

gilly dijo...

These sound lovely! I've only ever tried vine leaves in dolmades - and I'm spoiled in that respect because I can pick up a few at the Saturday morning market, and enjoy the fruits of someone else's labour. :)

ann dijo...

how lovely and intriguing!
i'll have to keep my eyes out for vine leaves... grape, no?

Guru dijo...

I love Greek dolmades!!! Unfortunately I can´t find vine leaves around here ...(yes, I´m envious)

So cute today´s pic!

Julie dijo...

Of pageants and picnics (best title ever?)

Excellent title. If not best, definitely in the top ten.

Another one here who needs to locate a source of grape leaves before I can try this.

lobstersquad dijo...

Jenjen: I´m always trying out new ways with mushrooms too. They´re very versatile.
Gilly: lucky to have a dolmades dealer. Here Greek specialties are not very common
Ann: yep, grape, sorry
Guru and Julie: It´s the only drawback to this recipe, finding the leaves. I´d never have done it if I hadn´t been sitting under a vine leaves when I read the recipe. Too much of a hassle otherwise.

Rebecca dijo...

I love Elizabeth David although haven't read her in years, but who would have thought of using fresh grape leaves?! This recipe sounds fairly simple, especially compared to stuffing and rolling, and I'm sure it tasted wonderful; very inspiring!

Nadiah Alwi dijo...

I love mushrooms!


lindy dijo...

I wonder if this would work with the jarred grapeleaves packed in brine that we get here. If they were well rinsed and dried...

snoopy6 dijo...

wow. i love, love, love the art on your blog. i also have an art blog "the blue button" and i'd love it if you wanted to come and cheack out what i have been drawling resently. i do a lot of sewing at home, and i only dream to be able to make the things that i post. i was so excited when my mom introduced me to your blog. after that we were eating your recipies every night for dinner. i don't remember one meal after that that wasn't from the famous "lobstersquad" thank you so much for being so inspirational. stop by the Blue Button, okay?

Brett dijo...

I sometimes use younger fresh grape leaves to make a sauce by slivering and then chopping them up and mixing them with olive oil and a little garlic, similar to the way you make a pesto or an Italian salsa verde. They are naturally tart like sorrel, so the sauce tastes great on a simple grilled fish.