Not everyone loves blue cheese, but those who do will find the pungent taste of these little sandwiches irresistible. Make sure the bread is fresh; if not, it breaks as you try to cut and stuff it. Other strong-flavored mushrooms, such as wine cap, shiitake, and fried-chicken, work equally well.
Yield: Makes 16 half mini pitas, serves 8 as an appetizer
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
8 ounces honey mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned, and coarsely chopped
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Port
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher or sea salt, as needed
1/3 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts (see Note)
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chives
8 mini pitas (2 inches across)
1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are lightly browned and softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a medium-size bowl and cool completely.
2. Add the blue cheese, port, and pepper to the mushroom mixture and stir gently until mixed. Taste and add salt if needed. Stir the walnuts and chives together in a shallow bowl. Cut the pitas in half crosswise to form two pockets.
3. Divide the mushroom mixture among the pita pockets, spreading it to fill each pocket evenly. Gently dip the edge of the exposed filling into the walnut-chive mixture and arrange the mini pitas, filling side up, on a serving platter.
Heat a small dry skillet to very hot. Add the unchopped nuts and toast, shaking the pan often, until fragrant and slightly dark about 2 minutes. Let cool thoroughly. To toast in the oven, spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in a preheated 300°F oven. Bake, stirring once or twice, until evenly golden brown, about 12 minutes. Let cool thoroughly. Chop as directed in each recipe.