Roots and Shoots is a dish that stays on the menu at Handline all year, but the ingredients are always changing depending on the season. During the winter, rainy weather and cool temperatures mean mushrooms are abundant in the area, which provide the base of the conserva for the winter Roots and Shoots, while our pumpkin seed tahini adds a nice richness to the plate. Both the tahini and conserva can be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks and used in a variety of dishes.
Wild mushrooms are one of Northern California’s treasures. With the help of an experienced forager and armed with the proper knowledge of mushroom species, you can trek into the woods of Sonoma County’s coastline to forage for these special ingredients. Chanterelle, hedgehog, candy cap, black trumpet, and matsutake are a few of the incredible varieties of delicious, umami-rich mushrooms springing up from pine needles, under oak trees, and on the decaying limbs of fallen trees. If wild mushrooms aren’t available, cultivated mushrooms are a fine substitute and are also available in a myriad of varieties.
½ bunch thyme
2 shallots, sliced
1 lb. king trumpet mushrooms (quartered), chanterelles, or other dense mushrooms of choice
6 cups of olive oil
2 tbl. red wine vinegar
Zest from 2 lemons
Place thyme, shallots, and mushrooms of your choice in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot. Add olive oil and place pot over medium heat (the olive oil should cover at least 75% of the mushrooms in the pot). As the olive oil heats up and begins to cook the mushrooms, you’ll notice the volume of mushrooms start to soften and fall below the level of the oil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for about 25 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to test the doneness of a mushroom. If soft, turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes.
Using a strainer, strain the mushrooms into a mixing bowl and reserve the oil. Let the mushroom mixture cool. When the mushrooms are cool enough to handle, remove the twigs of thyme and sliced shallot and discard. Season the mushrooms with the lemon zest, red wine vinegar, and salt to taste. Place the mushrooms into a jar or tupperware and pour the reserved oil on top to cover.
Pumpkin Seed Tahini
Nuts and seeds are a great source of flavor and texture that can be added to many dishes. In this recipe, we make pumpkin seed tahini, a sauce that would normally be made with sesame seeds. Pumpkin seeds are an extremely versatile ingredient and a staple at Handline. However, you can substitute other nuts or seeds in this recipe as well.
4½ cups toasted pumpkin seeds, soaked in cold water overnight (reserve water)
10 cloves confit garlic*
Zest from 2 lemons
1 lemon, juiced
1 Tbl. honey
Remove the skin from the cloves of garlic and place in a small pot. Cover with canola oil and simmer on low heat until soft. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, they are ready to use.
Combine all ingredients in blender. Add one cup of the reserved soaking liquid and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary to create a smooth texture and season with salt.