Mushroom Pate
(serves 4 - 6 as an appetizer)
Saute over medium heat:
2 c mushrooms, sliced
3 - 4 T olive oil or butter
1 shallot, chopped coarsely
 
Cook 5 - 10 minutes, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and the juices have reduced, and add:
2 T balsamic vinegar
 
Cook another few minutes, then transfer to a blender of food processor and process until smooth, adding:
2 T olive oil
1/4 c port wine
 
Stir together with:
1 T capers, coarsely chopped
1/4 t green peppercorns, chopped
a few mushroom slices, sauteed separately
salt, to taste
 
Place in a serving bowl or mold and refrigerate a few hours to set.  Serve at room temperature with sliced baguette, dijon mustard, and cornichons.
Notes & Variations:
  1. This is very simple to make, yet elegant to serve.  Use wild mushrooms or fresh shitakes, for a more complex flavor.
  2. Instead of the port, try sherry or sauterne.  Slivered almonds or pistachio nuts may replace the capers for extra texture.
  3. Various herb or spice combinations can be added to the sauteeing mushrooms.  For instance: sage and/or rosemary, turmeric and/or curry powder, dried mustard and/or cayenne pepper.
  4. Ground almonds or pecans, or some toasted bread crumbs will both add flavor and act as an extra setting agent for the pate.
  5. For a mousse, stir in a whipped egg white and bake at 350 until the egg has set, then chill.  Or, just before refrigerating, stir in some unsweetened whipped cream instead of egg white.