Last night I attended the Food Bloggers Awards hosted by the Indian Food Bloggers Association at the JW Marriott. The evening was dedicated to food bloggers, and was heralded by stalwarts from the F&B sector, who repeatedly stressed on the growing importance of food bloggers and their influence on the dining culture of this country. The panel of judges included Rashmi Uday Singh, Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, Sona Bahadur, Vicky Ratnani (who too has just recently started his very own blog) and Sanjeev Kapoor.
A few weeks ago, I wanted to make an hors d’oeuvre which could be served both warm and room termperature, and had the ability to invoke the desire in anyone to lean over for one more! I find that mushrooms and parsley are one of those heavenly matches – like strawberry and balsamic, orange and dark chocolate. Puff pastry is an obvious and amazing choice. How can you go wrong with something that has 1000 layers, and rises butterfully (see what I did there – beautifully with butter).
On a free afternoon, I pre-thawed the puff pastry for a few hours in the fridge and then rolled it out, cut 2″ rounds using a cookie cutter, and pressed down the corners with the back of a fork – providing those pretty little ridges in the pastry. The indentations also allow the corners to rise more and get nice and golden, whereas the centre remains a little dented, paving way for filling of choice. After they were indented, I popped them back into a freezer layered with parchment paper between each circle, to prevent any scope of sticking. This method saved me a huge amount of time and effort on D-day, and is also a great way to utilise any excess pastry.
Any given day all I needed to do was bake them for 12-15 minutes, add fresh produce (sweet or savoury) and pop back into the oven for 7-8 minutes till golden and scrumptious. Depending on the season, I would top with some fabulous cheese and fruit, like brie and pear. Or if berries are in season, some freshly whipped cream and macerated strawberries or raspberries. Or even dust the pastry with cinnamon sugar while baking and top with stewed apples and serve with vanilla ice cream for a deconstructed apple pie.
The possibilities are endless, as is the joy that comes from each bite.
The mushroom hors d’oeuvres consisted of sliced mushrooms sautéed with some red onion, garlic and parsley and topped with some freshly made tomato salsa, for a textural contrast to the mushrooms. You could easily skip the effort of making salsa and just top it off with a nice sprinkle of parmesan or a chunk of any desired cheese. Mandatory parsley sprinkle adds to the overall appeal and adds a nice earthy flavour to the mushrooms.
- 1/2 block (250gm) puff pastry, thawed in the fridge for 3-4 hours
- 200gm mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 50gm parsley, cleaned and chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup tomato salsa (optional) OR 1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional)
- Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface using a rolling pin, until you reach approximately 1.5cm thickness. Cut 2" circles using a pastry/cookie cutter.
- Preheat the oven to 175*c.
- With a back of a fork, make indentations around the circumference of each cut circle.
- Place the puff pastry onto a baking sheet lined with split or parchment paper and bake till almost golden, about 15 minutes.
- While the pastry is in the oven, sauté the onions and garlic in a spoonful of olive oil or butter. Add the mushrooms and cook until they finish sweating. Season to taste (remembering the pastry has salt) and add the parsley. Let the mixture cool.
- Once the puff pastry is puffy and almost golden, remove from the oven and add a tablespoon full of the mushroom mixture to each piece. Bake for another 7-8 minutes till golden and glowing.
- Serve with a sprinkling of parsley (and some salsa or cheese, if you want).