These vegetarian-friendly cakes are served with an addictive nontraditional pesto that gets its creaminess and lovely light green color from avocados. Complete the meal with a salad.
Red pepper coulis
- 2 small garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 2 8-ounce packages sliced button mushrooms
- 2 large portobello mushrooms (about 6 ounces total), gills scraped out, sliced
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced
- 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)* plus additional for coating
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 cup coarsely mashed avocado (from about 2 large avocados)
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- *Panko is available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.
Red pepper coulis
Char peppers over gas flame or in broiler until blackened all over. Seal in plastic or paper bag; let stand 15 minutes. Peel and seed peppers. Place in blender. Place garlic cloves in small dry skillet. Cover; cook over medium heat until browned and tender, shaking skillet occasionally, about 7 minutes. Cool. Peel garlic; add to blender with peppers. Add milk and honey to blender. Puree until smooth. Transfer to bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add all mushrooms and sauté until browned and edges begin to crisp, stirring often, about 14 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Transfer mixture to processor. Add eggs, Parmesan, herbs, salt, and pepper to processor. Using on/off turns, process until mushrooms are coarsely chopped. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in ½ cup panko.
Divide mushroom mixture into 8 equal portions (1/4 to 1/3 cup each). Form each into 3/4-inch-thick cake. Spread additional panko out on plate. Coat cakes with panko. Place on rimmed baking sheet.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
Place pine nuts in processor; using on/off turns, process until coarsely ground. Add avocado, Parmesan, cilantro, parsley, and lime juice. Process to blend. With machine running, gradually add 1/4 cup oil through feed tube. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Melt butter with 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, add mushroom cakes; cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet; place in oven.
Spoon about 1/4 cup avocado pesto into center of each plate; using back of spoon, spread out to 5-inch round. Place 2 cakes on each plate. Drizzle with red pepper coulis.