Special Feature


Black Portabella
Toadstools on a Log
with Slithering Crimson Salamanders


By Kate Heyhoe


You may have heard of a Yule Log or Buche de Noel—a cake decorated to look like a Christmas log? This is a savory Halloween log, decorated to look like a fallen forest tree, with lichen, moss, creepy crawlies and mushrooms.

Start with portabella and shiitake mushrooms, which look black and ominous but taste divine. This recipe uses:

1/2 to 3/4 pound mushrooms
   (portabella, shiitake or mixed).

If using dried shiitakes, soften them in hot water, then squeeze out the water before marinating. For portabellas, cut the stems off at the base before cooking, but for effect, set the stems back on the upside-down caps when serving.

Slice into vertical strips:
1 red bell pepper.

For the best effect, use a pepper that has lots of curls and twists—you want the strips to resemble crawling salamanders.

Mix together:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 cloves chopped garlic.

Coat both sides of mushroom caps and the pepper strips and marinate 15 minutes. Broil the mushrooms 3 to 5 minutes on each side, and the pepper strips less time, until brown on the edges.

Slice in half lengthwise:
1 baguette.

Brush both sides with:
Just enough pesto to coat.

Lightly broil.

To serve:
Garnish a platter with greenery using lettuce, parsley, watercress, or other greens. Tear the baguette at intervals to resemble broken pieces of a fallen log, then arrange on the greens. Arrange the mushrooms, with caps facing up or down or mixed, on the baguette. Add a few strips of anchovy fillets and roasted red peppers, to resemble slugs, snakes and salamanders. Dot with thin Parmesan shavings, if desired, and set the platter out as your edible table centerpiece, your beguiling Buche de Halloween.


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Copyright © 2000-2006, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.


This page created October 2002 and modified October 2006

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