Root Vegetable Napoleon with Truffled Almond-Mushroom Duxelles
I’m so excited to have our Root Vegetable Napoleon be one of your side dish headliners at this year’s holiday table. It is delicious and stunning and relatively easy to make, AND you can make it ahead of time and reheat it. This year, you can make it ahead, cut it in half and drop it off on someone's doorstep, and then zoom with them while you eat it together.
Now, calling a savory food item a “Napoleon” is super 90’s, but that’s when I worked in restaurants, so I’m brining it back. The classic dish known as the Napoleon is a sweet and flakey, layered dessert. In the 90’s, there was a trend to layer thinly sliced pieces of anything savory, cut it into pretty, precarious towers and label it a Napoleon. It became a little ridiculous and, eventually, like all ridiculous trends, those involved abandoned the idea out of shame. 2020 seems like the perfect year to bring back shameful but pleasurable trends, especially when serving your pod.
You will need a “Japanese” mandoline for this recipe, but that’s good. You should have one if you don’t already. I like the Benriner brand. It will change your life if you like to cut things thinly and uniformly. And, unlike standing mandolines, a Japanese mandoline is affordable and easy to use. Every good cook in every good restaurant brings their own knives and their own mandoline to work (or at least they did in the 90’s.) So show up to work in your kitchen ready to work with the right tools! (Do be mindful of your fingers on the sharp blade.)
When following this recipe, feel free to use whatever root vegetables you like. Build it like a forgiving lasagna, spread out layers as best you can, but don’t be a perfectionist. It will still be beautiful and tasty when you serve it. My favorite kind of recipe!
Truffled Almond-Mushroom Duxelles:
1 large or 2 small shallots, peeled and trimmed
12 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup whole (shelled) almonds
1 tablespoon truffle oil (optional)
salt and pepper
2.5 lbs of your favorite root vegetables (I do a combo of celery root, carrots, and beets. I also have been known to add some butternut squash, which, while not a root vegetable works very well.)
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
Make the duxelles. Place the shallots in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to lightly shread. Add mushrooms and process until mushrooms and shallots are finely minced, nearly pureed.
Melt butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the mushroom mixture and toss well with butter. Cook until mushrooms release liquid, about 7 minutes. While the mushrooms are cooking, finely chop the almonds in food processor. Once liquid is released, add the almonds to the mushrooms and stir, until liquid evaporates and nuts lightly toast, about 3 more minutes. Set aside and let cool.
Pre-heat oven to 425°.
Trim all of your root vegetables and then slice on the widest opening of your mandoline (about 1/8”). You will not need to use one of the toothed blades for this recipe.
Once your vegetables are sliced, begin to assemble Napoleon. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8”x8” roasting pan with olive oil. Place a layer of one vegetable on the bottom of the pan. Lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper and a bit of thyme before adding a layer of a different vegetable. Continue until you have a stack that has one layer of each of your vegetables, lightly seasoning each layer. Spread half of the duxelles across the top, and then repeat with another layer of each of your vegetables. Top with the remaining duxelles and then top with a mixture of vegetable scraps.
Cover with foil and roast for 50 minutes, until fragrant and cooked through. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.
Step #1 Make duxelles. You will want to process shallots and mushrooms until it resembles mush. Not pretty, but it will be delicious!
Step #2 Slice vegetables
Step #3 Layer, layer, layer!
Don't forget to season!
Step #4 Roast and enjoy!