Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weekend Cookbook Challenge AND an announcement

**If you have enjoyed or taken part in Weekend Cookbook Challenge in the past, please read all the way to the end of this post**

This post for Weekend Cookbook Challenge combines many things I love. Let's name them: cookbooks, sales, Williams Sonoma, mushrooms, ham, and new recipes. And so the recipe I'll share with you comes from a cookbook bought from the sale table at Williams Sonoma, and the recipe is for sauteed wild mushrooms with ham and allioli. Here's the book:

The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen. It's a phenomenal book not only for the recipes (everything from tapas to desserts) but also for the writing and the photos. They are few photos of actual dishes from the book, but many ingredient shots and photos of Spain and markets that will make you want to book a flight and get the heck over there.

I've had this book for a couple of years and though I've read it cover to cover a few times, this is the first time I've cooked from it. It didn't take much flipping thru it to find the recipe to make, Setas Salteadas Con Jamon Y Allioli, or Sauteed Wild Mushrooms with Ham and Allioli. I was excited to find this recipe because first, who doesn't love ham and mushrooms and garlic on toasted bread, and second because I've never made allioli (that is how the book spells it) before.

I started with the allioli. It's a mixture of egg yolk, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and canola oil. Whiz the yolk and friends in the blender while slowly drizzling in the oils et voila! You have allioli, aka mayonnaise.

My first mistake was not using the blender, but instead the mini chopper that fits on the blender base. I started drizzling in the oil and the allioli started spattering out the sides. I had to stop, wipe everything up and transfer the partially blended sauce into the blender, which I should have used in the first place, and continue. My second mistake was blending too long. The sauce went thick, and then back to thin. I gave up, scraped it into a bowl and seasoned it with salt.


The mushroom saute went much more smoothly. After sauteing garlic and diced ham in olive oil, the mushrooms are added and cooked until all the liquid has been evaporated. When stirring in the parsley I also added a splash of lemon juice. The mushrooms mixture is spooned over toasted bread and drizzled with the allioli.

Doesn't that look heavenly? It was absolutely wonderful. The allioli ended up splitting and was not thick at all, but the flavor was nice and it went very well with the dish. I will be working on my allioli skills so I can make this again.

Basic One Cup Allioli
The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup peanut or canola oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 large egg yolks
4 tsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Stir together both oils in a measuring cup with a spout. Place the garlic, egg yolks, and lemon juice in a blender and pulse until a coarse paste forms. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, thin, steady stream. The mixture will be the consistency of a thick mayonnaise. Scrape the allioli into a bowl and season to taste with salt, and more lemon juice if desired. Let stand for at least one hour before serving, or cover and refrigerate if keeping longer. If the allioli seems too thick, thin it out with a little water before using.
Makes just over 1 cup.

Setas Salteadas Con Jamon Y Allioli
Sauteed Wild Mushrooms with Ham and Allioli
The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen

3 tb olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
3 oz serrano ham or proscuitto, finely diced (I used black forest ham)
12 oz assorted delicate wild mushrooms wiped clean with a damp cloth and sliced (I couldn't find any wild mushrooms so used buttons)
salt and pepper
2-3 tb finely minced fresh parsley
about 1/3 cup allioli
grilled bread or toast for serving (optional)
I added fresh lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic and ham and cook, stirring, until the garlic is very fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have released and reabsorbed thier liquid and are lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes, adding more oil to the pan if it looks dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the parsley (and lemon).

Transfer the mushrooms to a serving plate or grilled bread or toast, if desired. Generoulsy drizzle the allioli over them. Serves at once.

Serves 2-4 as a meal.

I had decided a couple of months ago that it was time to wind down Weekend Cookbook challenge. Last month was actually going to be the last one, but I got sidetracked and distracted and moved it to this month. It has been great fun running WCC for the past 3 years, but the time has come. Originally I was not going to say anything, just write a thank you and goodbye in the round up, but after chatting with a couple of WCC regulars this weekend, they argued I should give some advance warning in case anyone wanted to take part one last time. Because I've already contacted the next 3 people that were slated to host and told them it was all over, and again, because I think it's time to say goodbye, I don't want to do another challange. But what I'm going to do is extend this one.

So, join me in saying goodbye to Weekend Cookbook Challenge! Challenge 37 has been extended to March 15. The theme is Love, but we've never really been about rules here. Do what you like! Send your posts to me by March 15 at iliketocook AT shaw DOT ca.


Anonymous said...

OH how lovely! It looks very nice. I am sorry you are closing the challenge, but thank you for all the great dishes!

foodiechickie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
foodiechickie said...

I am sorry too. I'm sorry I came so late to it and didn't participate nearly enough!

NKP said...

Thanks for the book review, I am always adding to my wishlist..
Your ham and wild mushroom dish looks really yummy!
Laura Calder showed how to repair broken mayo but I forget what she did. It is comforting that it can be done though. My first one came out perfect and then the next one broke... oh well!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh an end . . .

I love the mushroom dish and the book.

Anonymous said...

My mother-in-law whipped mayonnaise up by hand. :) She use olive oil instead. :)

Shaun said...

Sara, darling ~ I have been curious about this book because I have seen another book by the author that also sounds interesting (focus on Russian cookery, I believe). The allioli sounds great (even though it may take practice, like most things, really).

I apologise for not posting as much as I wanted to, but I'll be sure to submit something for your last WCC (the first blog event I have participated in). The event will be missed, but it left a great mark and has a been a nice community-builder. Congratulations for three great years, Sara!

Annie said...

Ham, mushrooms and allioli? I'm in!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I seem to have trouble making aioli. I have a dish I am making on the weekend that calls for dill aioli..wish me luck:D This cookbook looks very interesting.