Zakuski çar mushrom (Russian)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1lb (450g) mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
- 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 scallions, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Good squeeze lemon
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- Chopped fresh dill
Smoked Fish and Horseradish Butter:
- 7oz (200g) smoked fish* (see introduction for types)
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- yolks of 2 hard-boiled eggs
- Good squeeze of lemon
- 1/2 tsp creamed horseradish, or to taste
- 7oz (200g) feta cheese
- 2/3 cup sour cream*
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh dill or a mixture fresh dill and tarragon
- handful black olives in olive oil, to serve
Georgian beans in Plum Sauce:
- 9oz (250g) cooked kidney beans (drained weight)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- good squeeze of lemon
For the Plum Sauce:
- 5 1/2 oz (150g) plums
- 2oz (50g) pitted prunes
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- frac tsp cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tbsp mixture fresh cilantro and mint, roughly chopped
1. Heat the butter in a frying pan and, once it’s foaming, add the mushrooms. Sauté briskly so that the mushrooms get some color, then add the cayenne and scallions and seasoning of salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms have exuded their liquid and this has evaporated. Add a good squeeze of lemon and the sour cream. Turn the heat down and let the sour cream combine with the mushroom flavors, but don’t let the mixture boil.
2. Take the pan off the heat, add the dill, and check the seasoning. You can serve this lukewarm or at room temperature. The dish doesn’t taste so good if it’s been in the fridge, so cook it near to the time you want it serve it.
Smoked Fish and Horseradish Butter
*You can use mackerel, smoked herring, or smoked salmon trimmings for this butter.
1. If you are using fish that has skin, remove it. Either mash the fish with the butter and egg using a fork or roughly purée it in a food processor using the pulse button. The texture depends on how coarse or smooth you like it, but you don’t want baby food. Add lemon, pepper, and creamed horseradish to taste.
*Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream if you prefer.
1. Simply mash together all the ingredients (except the olives). Put some olives, drained of their oil, on top before serving.
Georgian beans in Plum Sauce:
This dish, lobio tkemali, combines two great Georgian loves, beans and plum sauce. The recipe makes rather more plum sauce than you need, but it’s hard to deal with smaller quantities and it’s also great with fried chicken or lamb kebobs.
1. For the plum sauce, halve the plums and remove the pits. Put all the ingredients for the plum sauce, except the herbs, with 1/4 cup water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Immediately turn down to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Purée the mixture and add the chopped herbs, keeping some back for scattering on top of the dish.
2. Mix the cooked beans with the olive oil, season, add the lemon juice, and slightly mash the mixture so that some beans are broken up and others remain whole. Mix with 4 tbsp of the plum sauce. Check the seasoning, put into a bowl, and scatter with herbs.