Trying to eat “light” in the lead-up to this week — three Christmas dinners on the calendar and that doesn’t include the famous Garreau tortiere, handed down to Adrienne from her late mother-in-law. That recipe may not be ready to post just yet, but this mushroom salad certainly is. It’s light yet satisfying, even — dare we say it for a salad? — comforting. The combination of the sour cream and walnuts is part of that. But, in a non-obvious way, the mushrooms themselves have both a meatiness and an almost souffle-like airiness. Use the freshest mushrooms you can find and stick with real sour cream if at all possible to get the creaminess just right. The salad needs at least a half-hour for the flavors to meld and the mushrooms to release some of their moisture into the dressing.
1/4 C chopped walnuts
2 C sliced very fresh white button mushrooms (about one 8-oz box)
1/3 C sour cream
2 T lemon juice
1/4 C minced scallions, green and white parts combined
1/4 t cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste
chives for garnish
Toasting the walnuts is optional, but I like them better that way. Heat a non-stick pan on medium; add walnut pieces and toast until you get a good, nutty perfume and they are golden. Do not scorch. This will take about five minutes. Remove from heat and cool. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except the chives. Add the walnuts; toss well and set the salad aside to marinate for at least a half-hour. You can also make it up to one day ahead of time. Garnish with chives and serve. Two to three servings.