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Baked Mushrooms, Broken Bread
From Eat Ate, by Guy Mirabella

This recipe was inspired by Mariapaola Dettore's recipe for Funci 'ncartati (mushrooms cooked in foil packages) from her book Sicily. It comes from the Agrigento area where mushrooms, wrapped in moistened butcher's paper, would be buried in the hot ashes in the fireplace to cook or placed on a grill above the glowing embers.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup grated pepper pecorino
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, plus extra to serve
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves, plus extra to serve
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, plus extra to serve
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
2 anchovies, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons extra
splash of brandy
1 pound small-to-medium cremini mushrooms
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 loaf ciabatta

Instructions:

In a bowl combine the pecorino, breadcrumbs, garlic, herbs and lemon zest. In another large bowl combine the lemon juice, anchovies, 1/3 cup oil, brandy and mushrooms and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Add the cheese and herb mixture and toss once more.

Preheat the oven to 400F (205C). Tip the mushroom mixture onto a large, lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover the sheet with foil so there are no gaps. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and put onto another baking sheet. Toss with the 2 tablespoons oil and lots of pepper. Put the baking sheet in the oven with the mushrooms for the last 15 minutes, or until the bread is golden and crisp on the outside (but still a little soft in the middle).

To serve, put the bread on a large platter and spread the mushrooms and their juices over the top. Sprinkle with more parsley, rosemary and thyme.

Yield: Serves 4

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