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The Handoff: Portable Portobellos! Mushroom Tapenade and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

2010 July 8

by Sarah A. Maine

My sister, my mother, and I were in the middle of preparing Brianna’s Ratatorte recipe when I realized that the path to the next relay was paved with mushrooms.  My sister had sautéed the mushrooms and leeks in white wine in preparation for the duxelle – I took a quick taste and had to stop myself from running off with the pan and eating it all with a spoon.  Once I had the mushroom craving there was no turning back.

I was visiting my family so I was without my own familiar complement of cookbooks, so I checked out my mother’s shelf.  My eyes fell on her copy of The Silver Spoon, “the bible of authentic Italian cooking”, which I had given her several years ago.  I was thrilled and amazed by the number of mushroom recipes it had to offer.  I didn’t follow any specific recipe but I gathered two important elements: the amount of mushrooms I would need and the idea of pairing the mushrooms with capers.  I chose a mild but very fresh cheese that would allow the mushrooms to make a statement but you may want to use a cheese that will stand up for itself a little more.  Either way a tasty and hearty sandwich will be waiting for you.

Mushroom Tapenade And Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 70 minutes

Yield: 6 sandwiches (2 cups tapenade)


  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 8 small French shallots (1 bunch)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 pound mushrooms (1/2 pound cremini, 1/2 pound portobello)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh spreadable goat cheese (or any cheese you prefer)
  • 1 loaf of your favorite bread, sliced and toasted

Cooking Directions

  1. Slice the shallots and mince the garlic, set them aside.
  2. Chop the mushrooms coarsely, stems and all, and run them lightly through the food processor so that they are finely chopped but not puréed.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil the in a large pan, add the shallots, garlic, 2 tablespoons of white wine, and capers; sauté until the shallots are clear (~ 5 minutes).
  4. Add the mushrooms in the pan and mix well with the sautéed onion base. Add 2 more table spoons of olive oil, another tablespoon of white wine, and the salt, then cover and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Uncover, stir the mixture and cook for another 2 minutes. The mushrooms will be dark and juicy and giving off a delicious aroma. Drain the mushrooms and set them aside to cool. You can reserve the juice for use in a cream sauce (for risotto) or to make a mushroom gravy (serve over chicken, pork or sautéed vegetables).
  5. Slice the bread and toast the slices to add some extra crunch to the sandwiches (this will also keep the sandwiches from getting soggy in transit).
  6. Assemble each sandwich with a thick layer of tapenade and a layer of creamy goat cheese. Wrap the sandwiches in wax paper, pack them in your picnic basket or cooler and take your meal on the road!

I made this recipe all in one go on the morning of our picnic but the tapenade can easily be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days until you are ready to use it.  I actually made double the amount since we had six people coming and we wanted to have enough for everyone to have two sandwiches if they wanted.

The flexibility in this recipe is endless: you can serve the tapenade as a dip or as a side dish (hot or cold), you can also skip putting the mushrooms in the food processor and just slice them for a chunkier result.  The shallots can be traded for your favorite onions, and olives or nuts could be substituted for the capers (or just added to the mix!).  I didn’t include any fresh herbs in my recipe but I think fresh chopped parsley would be a nice accent to offset the meaty flavor of the mushrooms. Delicious!

  • Eugenie Maine

    I can attest to the yumminess of this mushroom tapanade with fresh RI goat cheese.

  • Aisha Prigann

    I’m definitely going to try this recipe. It seems perfect for the summer, given the number of fun outdoor events – film screenings, country outings, afternoons at the beach – that require picnic food. I’m always on the lookout for original, portable dishes. Thank you!

    • sarahamaine

      Let us know how it turns out and if you make any adaptations!

  • Pingback: On Your Mark, Get Set: Goat Expectations! « Recipe Relay

  • Eugenie Maine

    As we relay onwards, after cooking up the mushrooms for the tapenade I used the reserved liquid, and a small portion of the tapenade to cook up a delicious rice pilaf. We considered making a risotto but had basmati rice on hand so using a ratio of 3 parts rice to 3 parts liquid ( instead of the usual 3:2 ratio) we produced a very tasty dish.

    Relaying back even further I combined the last of the left over cashew garlic spread ( from Briana’s Ratatorte recipe) with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to produce a salad dressing for a green salad of lettuce, rughetta, chives, fennel leaves and mint-all from our garden. Rave reviews from our pot luck luncheon attendees!