The rich feasts at Christmas hardly need first courses but something really light and titillating like this, which takes no time to prepare, is a useful idea to have up your sleeve. Serve with crusty brown bread to mop up the juices
Slice the mushrooms fairly thinly. Cut the roots off the spring onions and chop the rest into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces using as much of the green part as possible. Peel the garlic cloves and slice them across very thinly.
Put the oil into a large, deep frying-pan over a medium heat, add the sliced garlic and stir it around for a minute or so; add the sliced spring onions and the grated lemon rind and stir for a minute more. Next add the lemon juice, the wine vinegar and the sliced mushrooms to the pan. Stir for a minute or two until the mushrooms are just beginning to soften. Remove the pan from the heat, add plenty of black pepper and stir in the chopped parsley. Turn the mixture into a bowl and when it has cooled, stir in the Danish lumpfish caviar; check for seasoning and add
When ready to eat, spoon the mixture on to a serving plate and pick the leaves off the watercress stems to use in bunches as a border round the mushroom mixture.
© 1978 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.