Mushrooms a la Grecque

If you are planning to make these, make them the day before. They need time chilling in the fridge.

This method of preparing vegetables as a salad had long since fallen out of favour by the end of the 1980s. What was the "a la Grecque" style, you ask? It was a French take on Middle Eastern dishes, where the main ingredient is cooked in a Greek-style vinaigrette, together with white wine and its own juices. Other candidates for this method of cooking include celery, bulb fennel (or a mix of the two) - though the quantities and timings will vary - and leeks.

For leeks, choose 2 - 3 smallish ones for preference and make a cut lengthwise along the green part from just below where the white starts so you can wash any soil or grit from the green. Keeping them as intact as possible, cut each into two or three equal pieces (bearing in mind the diameter of your saucepan). Simmer (lid on) for 20 - 25 minutes, carefully rotating the leeks so each side cooks evenly in the vinaigrette.

Makes a much smaller quantity of mushrooms than you would imagine; the above photo shows exactly what you end up with...and that's a regular-sized bowl.

Serves 3 - 4 as a side dish; more as part of a mezze.


400g smallish mushrooms

1 tomato, skinned and chopped into small dice

1 heaped teaspoon whole coriander seed

or 1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 -3 fresh sprigs)

1 bay leaf

3 tablespoons olive oil

juice of one good lemon

100ml dry white white

1/8th teaspoon ground black pepper

a scant 1/2 teaspoon salt

To finish once cold:

a good handful of finely chopped parsley



Wipe the mushrooms, trim the stalks down, and cut any larger ones into 2 or 3 even pieces.


If using coriander seeds, toast them over a medium heat for 2 - 3 minutes in a dry frying pan. Crush them as finely as possible in a pestle and mortar or between two spoons. If using ground coriander, toast it for 2 minutes over a low heat.


Now skin the tomato. Score a cross into the skin on the base and another on the top, place in a bowl and cover with boiling water until the skin starts to peel away (about 1 minute). Remove the tomato and refresh it in cold water before peeling away the skin.

Chop into fine dice.


Put all the vinaigrette ingredients (but NOT the parsley) in a medium or large saucepan, add the mushrooms, and turn up the heat. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and pop on a lid.


Simmer for 15 minutes, remove the lid, and increase the heat slightly. Let it simmer for 10 minutes more, watching it closely towards the end. You want the juices to reduce but not to cook off entirely, for they form the dressing.


Leave to cool before mixing in the chopped parsley. 

Any questions? You can use the comments form at the bottom of the page.

Did you know?

You'll find recipes at the back of all the books in the Send for Octavius Guy series:

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