Mushrooms, Fennel, and Leeks


Though quite simple to make, this dish has a complex flavor profile, bringing together the earthiness of mushrooms, the sweetness of fennel and leeks, and the tanginess of crème fraiche – it’s beautiful, flavorful, and incredibly hearty. The mushrooms are great on their own or served over pasta, but my favorite is piling the mixture over a thick slab of grilled, garlic-rubbed bread.  If you can’t find crème fraiche, sour cream or Greek yogurt work just fine.  Accompanied by simple salad and robust red wine, this dish is perfect for a cozy night in.    

Serves 4



·       1 medium shallot, chopped finely

·       2 medium cloves garlic, minced + 1 whole clove garlic

·       1 leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced thin

·       10 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced thick

·       6 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced thick

·       1 tablespoon salted butter

·       1 tablespoon olive oil + extra for drizzling

·       a few pinches fine grain sea salt

·       1 small bulb of fennel, trimmed and sliced very thinly

·       1-2 tablespoons crème fraiche

·       2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped finely

·       2 tablespoons of fresh chives, minced

·       2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped finely

·       freshly ground black pepper

·       4 thick slices farmhouse or sourdough bread

·       2 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese

Clean mushrooms using a damp paper towel to remove dirt and cut into 1/3-inch thick slices (if they’re small they can also be left whole).

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt the butter.  Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until the shallots are soft and translucent.  Stir often and adjust the heat as needed to ensure that the garlic doesn’t burn.  Add in the sliced leeks and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt, and use a spatula to stir until coated. Sauté the mixture for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms release their water and brown a bit.  Stir in the sliced fennel and cook for another 2 minutes and then remove the skillet from heat.  Wait approximately one to two minutes and stir in the crème fraiche. Add in half of the fresh herbs, black pepper and more salt if needed. 

Toast four thick slices of farmhouse or sourdough bread until the edges are charred and slightly crispy.  Upon removing the bread from the oven, drizzle with olive oil and rub with a clove of garlic.  Spoon a quarter of the mixture on to each slice of toasted bread.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan and the remaining fresh herbs.  Serve immediately.