Zest and Herbs

Mushroom, walnut and feta salad

Mushroon, walnut and feta salad

If you’ve been paying attention to the UK’s weather over the last couple of weeks, you’ll know it has been pretty grim, especially in the South-West of England where I live.  This is the longest period of really bad weather I’ve seen since living in Devon and Cornwall for the past four years: there’s hardly been a dry day since mid-December and now the wind is starting to blow my blinds around, even with all windows and vents shut.  With a little respite on Friday, I stocked up the cupboards and had a bit of a splurge of fresh produce (with the railway line cut off spectacularly, I won’t be getting my greens from visiting my parents anytime soon).

With a fridge laden with salad leaves and fresh herbs and all those things that usually go slimy in the bottom of most fridges, I made myself a salad of mushrooms for lunch with a bit of a Mediterranean feel.  Pomegranate molasses are new to my cupboards but they were perhaps the ubiquitous ingredient of the last year and, were it not for the addition of a little harissa, this dressing comes straight from the side of bottle.

Delicious as this was, by Friday night it was raining again and something more substantial was required, but a sprinkling of cooked beans or lentils would make a more filling dinner.


For the salad:

  • Small knob of butter
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, cut into ½ cm thick slices
  • 50g shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled into 1 cm pieces
  • 1-2 sprigs of mint, stalks removed, finely chopped
  • Small handful of parsley, thick stalks removed, finely chopped
  • 150g mixed salad leaves

For the dressing:

  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (about ¼ lemon)
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar

Serves 2

To make the dressing, simply whisk all the with a pinch of salt and pepper until emulsified.

In a frying pan, heat the butter, with a drop of oil to stop it burning, until foaming and fry the mushrooms with salt and pepper on a moderate heat, moving them as little as possible for 5 minutes on each side: mushrooms cook best when they aren’t disturbed and don’t burn easily because of their high water content.  While the mushrooms cook, toss together the walnuts, feta cheese, herbs and salad leaves.

When the mushrooms are cooked, allow to cool for a minute or so before combining everything together and pouring over the dressing to taste.  Serve while the mushrooms are still warm.

Mushroom, walnut and feta salad

One comment on “Mushroom, walnut and feta salad

  1. The Editors of Garden Variety
    February 9, 2014

    Looks filling and delicious.


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