I am a huge fan of Elizabeth David, the well-known British Food Writer. I was given one of her books in 1965 and have been an admirer ever since. When Britain was still suffering from post World War 2 rationing, she it was who brought olive oil from the medicine cabinet where it was used when something flew into your ear, to the kitchen. She had lived for a number of years in the Middle East and as a food writer, travelled extensively in France, Italy and other European countries.
I was recently rereading one of her books, Summer Cooking, in which she talks about baking mushrooms in vine leaves, and mentions that she makes no apology to include it in the book as most people have a vine in their garden – wish that was true. At the moment, we have vines in our front and back garden full of leaves and never sprayed. If you use vine leaves, please be sure they have not been sprayed.
The point of the recipe is to give the mushrooms a bosky flavour, a smell and taste of the woods – and it works.
Mushrooms baked in vine leaves
You will need…
6 large vine leaves, organic or not sprayed – well washed
6 sprigs of thyme
a good slosh of Willow Creek Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Virgin Coconut Oil Blend
200g button or Portobello mushrooms, or a selection of exotic mushrooms – cut into halves
4 fat cloves garlic
a seasoning of Willow Creek Garlic Infused EVOO
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper
What you’ll do…
Preset the oven on 180C. In a pot of simmering water blanch the vine leaves for a couple of minutes till they soften. Drain in a colander. Brush the baking dish with olive oil and line the dish with leaves and keep two for the top. Place the thyme sprigs on the leaves. Put in the mushrooms, the garlic cloves and a good splash of the olive oils. Season well with the sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover the top with the remaining leaves and cover the dish with a lid or aluminium foil. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. If you need to get rid of some liquid, remove the top leaves and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Serve as a side dish with a tranche of braaied steak.
Read more about Willow Creek Olive Estate – CLICK HERE