Mushroom Mousse

April 12, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

When the "Your Best Mushrooms" theme was announced a while ago, the thought of a mushroom mousse kept flitting through my head. After a quick search on the internet, I found Amanda Cohen’s recipe for Portobello Mousse with Cherries and Fennel Compote, Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, and Truffled Crostini ( Amanda Cohen is the chef/owner of Dirt Candy, a vegetarian restaurant in NYC. (Amanda’s Dirt Candy blog is a really fun read, btw.)

But the recipe didn’t indicate if the mushrooms are to be cooked, or left raw. So I searched some more and found Sarah Simmons' blog post ( where she describes her obsession with the Dirt Candy Portobello Mousse and how she set out to recreate it. A little too daunting for my level of culinary expertise, I thought I’d just tackle the mousse part and see what I could adapt from Amanda’s sumptuous dish.

I tested so many versions…with and without gelatin, with and without cheese and aromatics, in the blender (which I hate washing) and in the food processor. But in the end, my favorite was this one, with its pure earthy mushroom-y aroma and taste, and smooth, mousse-like texture achieved with the mini-chopper.

Here, I've dressed up the mousse with a drizzle of aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena and some parsley oil. The parsley oil is just slightly adapted from Bon Appétit’s recipe for Scallop and Bacon Chowder from Dec. ’01. It’s delicious. —mrslarkin

Test Kitchen Notes

At our next dinner party, I'm going to perform a little experiment on my carnivorous friends: set out a nice pâté alongside this mushroom mousse and see which disappears faster. My bet: The fungi. This mousse has a mellow, thoroughly mushroomy flavor and cloud-like texture -- plus, it takes only a few minutes and one pan to prepare. I would argue that the balsamic reduction should not be optional; it couldn't be easier to prepare, and the sweet, sharp acidity is a welcome counterpoint to the creamy mousse. - MeghanVK —MeghanVK

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar (If you have Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena, you can skip the step of reducing the balsamic vinegar)
  • FOR THE PARSLEY OIL (optional):
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves (flat leaf), thick stems removed and discarded (they’re bitter)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cups chopped Baby Bella mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • kosher or sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. FOR THE BALSAMIC REDUCTION, in a small saucepan, reduce 1 cup balsamic vinegar over medium heat until thick and syrupy. Set aside to cool.
  2. FOR THE PARSLEY OIL, combine the parsley leaves, olive oil and salt in a blender and puree until very smooth. Taste for salt. Pour into a lidded jar and store in the refrigerator. To use, bring to room temp, and stir. I don’t strain the oil. I like the rustic look of the teeny tiny pieces of parsley.
  3. FOR THE MUSHROOM MOUSSE, in a medium saucepan, heat 1½ tablespoons butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and toss until fully coated with the melted butter. Add salt to taste. Cook the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, stirring every now and then. They’ll begin to exude their liquid, and then start to brown and crisp up a bit. Turn out into the bowl of a mini chopper or mini food processor when done.
  4. In the same saucepan, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, and just beginning to brown. Stir in the cream. Reduce heat to low. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
  5. Add the onion mixture to the mushrooms in the mini chopper. Season with salt and pepper and puree until very smooth. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust seasonings if desired. Pour into a 4-ounce ramekin. Serve warm.
  6. Serve on crostini, crispy toast crusts, pita chips, or just dolloped on a demitasse spoon, drizzled with balsamic syrup (or Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena) and parsley oil. I like the mousse best when it’s warm or at room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • wssmom
  • thirschfeld
  • gingerroot
  • kmartinelli
  • Lizthechef

21 Reviews

wssmom May 11, 2011
I am so glad to see this here! In this contest! It's awesome and it's for lunch tomorrow!
thirschfeld April 15, 2011
I bet this would make some mean stuffed chicken breast, too.
mrslarkin April 15, 2011
oh my goodness. that sounds real good.
gingerroot April 14, 2011
I could eat this by the spoonful, no bread needed! Love the parsley oil.
mrslarkin April 14, 2011
thanks gingerroot! Had it for lunch today with pita chips!! Yummmmm.
wssmom April 13, 2011
Oh, my!! What a sleuth you are! Everything sounds delicious and I love the idea of speading it on crostini ....
mrslarkin April 13, 2011
haha! Thanks, wssmom!
kmartinelli April 13, 2011
As soon as I saw the recipe title the first thing I thought of was Amanda Cohen's portobello mousse - and low and behold, that was the inspiration! Her version is insanely good (the full recipe with complete instructions is here if you ever need Yours looks just as wonderful if not better! And I am so impressed with all the recipe testing you did!
mrslarkin April 13, 2011
Thanks, kmartinelli! I would love to try her Portobello Mousse!! Yes, that's the same recipe that I found - but I couldn't determine if she used raw mushrooms, or if she cooks them and it was just left out of the instructions. Seemed strange not to cook them, as so much more flavor, taste and aroma is released when they are cooked. Her blog is so very funny.
Lizthechef April 13, 2011
Looks well worth all the effort. Thanks for all your hard work testing out this lovely recipe,Liz!
mrslarkin April 13, 2011
you're welcome, Liz!!
fiveandspice April 13, 2011
Delicious! Thanks for doing all that testing on our behalf :).
mrslarkin April 13, 2011
My pleasure, fiveandspice!
mrslarkin April 13, 2011
Thank you, EmilyC. I like it best spread on crostini. But you could do so many things could stir it into risotto; toss it with pappardelle or fettuccine for a mushroom alfredo; smear it on the bottom of a tart shell and top with grilled veggies; spread it on a steak sangwidge; mix it with ricotta and make filling for ravioli; mix it with cream cheese for a dip; spoon it onto poached eggs. Sorry...I could keep going...I'll stop now. :)
EmilyC April 13, 2011
This sounds lovely. Seems like this could be served a number of ways...what do you recommend?
aargersi April 13, 2011
Delish - will save this for our next gathering. Oh and for my sisters! Red letter week for vegetarians here on Food52!!!
mrslarkin April 13, 2011
Thanks, aargersi! oh, good idea! i should add "vegetarian" to the tags!
drbabs April 13, 2011
mrslarkin April 13, 2011
Thank you, drbabs.
hardlikearmour April 12, 2011
Nicely done, mrsL! Love the parsley oil and balsamic with the mousse, too.
mrslarkin April 13, 2011
Thanks, hla!