- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2005

Dinner preparation time just got sliced in half. Well, trimmed by 10 minutes, anyway, once sliced mushrooms appeared in the supermarket produce section.

I’m all for saving time, especially when someone else has sliced the mushrooms, grated the cheese and washed the lettuce.

To celebrate timesaving ingredients and rejoice for any reason you choose with good friends, why not stage a mushroom dinner at your house. Select the pre-sliced button mushrooms for the yummy galette recipe that follows. Saute these and perhaps some pre-sliced crimini mushrooms to add to pasta.

If you’re really game, marinate sliced portobello mushrooms in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper, and grill as you would steaks. And for dessert? Why not a light lemon roulade, plus mushrooms made of meringue and dusted with cocoa, if you feel crafty. If not, the roulade is fine on its own.

The galette is a fragrant appetizer to pull from the oven and serve in slices with a glass of wine. In fact, it’s just the sort of recipe you could enlist others to help assemble while you’re readying dinner.

For another timesaver, substitute store-bought pesto (half a cup) instead of measuring out the garlic, olive oil, parsley and Parmesan in the galette.

Five time-shaving ways to jazz up dinner with pre-sliced mushrooms:

• Add sliced mushrooms and cooked crumbled Italian sausage to a make-at-home pizza.

• Enhance a store-bought Alfredo sauce with sauteed mushrooms and a bit of sherry.

• Braise chicken breasts, mushroom soup and sliced mushrooms in the slow cooker.

• Top steaks from the grill with a sauce of sauteed mushrooms and brandy.

• Saute mushrooms; thicken lightly with flour; and then add chicken stock, salt, pepper and a bay leaf to create a fast cream-of-mushroom soup.

Aromatic mushroom galette

The preparation time is 12 minutes, and the cooking time is 22 to 25 minutes.

1 8-ounce package refrigerated crescent rolls

2 cups (8 ounces) pre-sliced mushrooms

3 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter, melted

1/2 cup pre-grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt

Unwrap crescent rolls, and unroll the dough; you will have 8 triangles. Place an ungreased baking sheet or pizza stone on a work surface. Arrange triangles of dough so that they form an 8-pointed star. The pointed tips should face away from the center of the star. Start by placing one triangle in the 12 o’clock position, one at 6, one at 3 and one at 9. Place remaining 4 triangles in the remaining spaces.

Edges of the dough triangles should overlap slightly, but there will be a hole in the center of the star. Using your fingertips, press down on the dough to seal the edges where they overlap.

To fill the hole, press the base of each triangle toward the center until the hole is evenly covered with dough. Then, using your hand, press down on the dough so that it is flat, with no gaps.

Place mushrooms, garlic, olive oil or butter, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley and oregano in a mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Season with salt to taste.

Spoon mushroom filling into center of dough, then pull up tips of dough and fold them over filling to create a bundle. There will be gaps between the triangles of dough on top of the filling. Press down slightly on the bundle. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese over the top of the galette.

Bake galette in preheated 375-degree oven until crust is deeply browned and mushroom filling bubbles, 22 to 25 minutes. Remove galette from oven, run a metal spatula underneath to loosen it, then slice and serve warm. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Anne Byrn is the author of the popular “Doctor” series cookbooks, including “The Cake Mix Doctor” and “The Dinner Doctor” (Workman Publishing). Share favorite cooking tips, ask questions and access her free online newsletter at www.dinnerdoc.com.

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