Vine Leaves and Mushrooms

The vine leaves in this dish protect and flavour the mushrooms so that they are cooked to perfection. If possible, use evenly sized and shaped mushrooms for the best visual effect. Serve Vine Leaves and Mushrooms as an hors d’oeuvre or as accompaniment to roast lamb.

1 lb. button mushrooms, wiped clean, stalks removed and reserved

1 teaspoons salt

16 canned vine leaves, drained, rinsed in hot water and patted dry with kitchen paper towels

2 fl. oz. olive oil garlic clove, crushed

1 teaspoon black pepper

Place the mushroom caps in a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Set aside for 10 minutes to degorge.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350 F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

Remove the mushrooms from the bowl and pat dry with kitchen paper towels. Set aside.

In a shallow flameproof dish, arrange 8 of the vine leaves, over-lapping them slightly so that they cover the bottom of the dish. Carefully pour over the olive oil and place the dish over moderately low heat. When the oil is hot, sprinkle over the garlic and remove the pan from the heat. Arrange the mushroom caps, stalk side uppermost, in the dish. Cover the mushrooms with the remaining leaves and place the dish in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the mushrooms are very tender but still whole.

Meanwhile, slice the reserved stalks very thinly.

Remove the dish from the oven, remove and discard the vine leaves which cover the mushrooms and sprinkle the sliced stalks over the mushrooms. Return the dish to the oven and cook for a further 8 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven.

Sprinkle over the black pepper and serve immediately.

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