A couple of weeks ago I received an exciting little box from Marx Foods containing samples of five different types of dried wild mushrooms, all foraged from the Pacific Northwest. These are not cultivated varieties labeled as “wild,” they are the real deal. My challenge was to create a recipe to feature on my blog, using one or any combination of the mushrooms as a featured ingredient. The box contained lobster mushrooms, porcinis, black trumpets, matsutakes, and morels:
|Behold that giant morel in the middle!|
Given that I adore mushrooms of all types, this was a dream iron-chef-style challenge. For my first dish I wanted to do something simple but elegant that would really highlight the flavor of the wild mushrooms. I started by reconstituting the lobster mushrooms, porcini, and morels. After they were refreshed I ran the soaking liquid through a fine sieve to remove any grit, saved a bit for the dish, and put the rest in the freezer to use as soup stock in some future recipe.
To make sure the mushrooms were nice and tender, I sliced them into ribbons and then put them in a pan with a half cup of the strained soaking liquid and let them simmer for about ten minutes, or until the liquid cooked off. I set those aside to cool and then I made the simple chive oil. For this I took a half-cup of chopped fresh chives and put it in the blender with a half cup of walnut oil and a pinch of salt, then blended until smooth. You can use any type of oil you like here, but I like the mild, nutty flavor of the walnut oil. After blending, refine the oil by letting it drip through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl–or use it as is, if you prefer. This will keep in the refrigerator for a week, and it makes a beautiful garnish for soups.
To make the crispy shallot garnish I thinly sliced four medium shallots (you want about a half cup, sliced) and cooked them in some oil until they were crispy and brown:
Drain the browned shallots on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt–they will crisp up as they drain (do this, and you will never buy those canned onions again…).
For the individual flans I buttered the interiors of four 8-ounce ramekins and divided the mushrooms between them. You want to cook these in a water bath, so pick a pan that they will all fit into with some room for a half-inch or so of water:
Next I whisked together 3 large eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1 cup of heavy cream (come on, live a little), a scant half teaspoon of sea salt, and a good pinch of ground white pepper. Divide the custard mixture evenly over the mushrooms:
Pour a half inch or so of hot water around the ramekins, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the outer edge comes out clean. Carefully pull out the pan (sloshing that hot liquid is a bad idea) and let the ramekins cool for a few minutes before you run a sharp knife around the edges to invert onto serving plates. Garnish the tops with the crispy shallots and drizzle a little of the chive oil around the edges.
Savory Wild Mushroom Flans with Crispy Shallots and Chive Oil
- 1/2 cup walnut or olive oil
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
- avocado or coconut oil, to fry the shallots
- about a cup of reconstituted, dried mushrooms
- 3 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
- For the chive oil, place the 1/2 cup of walnut oil, chives, and pinch of salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Let the mixture drip through a fine sieve to remove the solids.
- For the shallots, break the slices of shallot up into rings. Coat the bottom of a skillet with avocado oil and heat over medium-high heat. Cook the shallots, stirring frequently, until they are well browned. Let them drain on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter four, 8 ounce ramekins. Divide the mushrooms evenly between the ramekins.
- Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, cream, salt, and white pepper. Pour the mixture over the mushrooms in the prepared ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking dish and pour about an inch of hot water around them. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the centers no longer wiggle when you shake the ramekin.
- To serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin. Place the serving dish on top of the ramekin and carefully flip it to invert the flan. Garnish each flan with some of the chive oil and some crispy shallots.