Warm Mushroom Salad with Hazelnuts and Pecorino
1/2 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
3 tablespoons sherry or a white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds mushrooms (cremini or a mix of wild mushrooms), cleaned and sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 ounces salad greens such as frisé, arugula or a mix of your choice
A 1 cup mix of fresh herbs (optional) such as chives, tarragon
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or a couple pinches of dried
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1/4 pound pecorino or another hard, sharp cheese (I used the parmesan I had in the fridge)
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, rolling them around once or twice to make sure they toast evenly. Rub nuts in a dish towel to remove skins then let cool. Chop the hazelnuts coarsely.
Whisk the shallots, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a bowl and let sit for five minutes (this will soften and almost pickle the shallots), before whisking in 1/4 cup olive oil.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter until the butter foams. Add the mushrooms, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, until they’re softened but not limp (your cooking time will depend on the type of mushrooms you used). Toss in sliced shallots, cooking for an additional 2 minutes.
Spread salad greens on a plate. Sprinkle fresh herbs on top, if using. Spoon hot mushrooms over the salad greens. Pour three-quarters of the vinaigrette in the sauté pan and swirl it in the pan until heated. Season it with 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour over salad and toss carefully. Adjust to taste.
Use a vegetable peeler to shave cheese over the salad. Sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve immediately.