RECIPES: CHANTERELLE TARTINES WITH POACHED EGG, CELERIAC CREAM, BORAGE FLOWERS & YARROW LEAVES | PINK PEAR CARDAMOM MUFFINS & CHANTERELLE SALTED CARAMEL
Ladies and gentlemen, here it is, the much awaited season I’ve been dreaming about, a moment I’ve been anticipating ever since we moved here… mushroom time! And a full mushroom menu to celebrate. Finally, I can go out into the woods and just get my hands full of chanterelles and ceps! The forest has completely transformed for autumn. Mushrooms of all shapes and sizes now punctuate the landscape with color: red amanites, white coulemelles, yellow girolles, bits of orange moss, brown cèpes, purple amethysts. You feel like Alice in Wonderland, completely overwhelmed by these new objects populating the woods.
Beyond being lost, we were more precisely at a loss. Luckily, we were accompanied by our friend André Chachá (his actual name, which coincidentally means “Cat-cat” in French) a Brazilian cook who was working under Chef Régis Marcon in a 3-star Michelin restaurant not far from here in Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid (‘Saint-Beanie-the-Cold”) and who knows a thing or two about mushrooms, at least when it comes to cooking them.
Chef André Chachá
As novice mycologists, we opted for the strategy of picking as many types of mushrooms as possible and identifying them later. Showing up at the pharmacy with a basket of colorful forest finds, we were disappointed to discover that almost none of them were edible, and the few that wouldn’t kill you were not gastronomically interesting. Adding insult to injury, the pharmacist explained that even if we had found good ones we would not have been able to eat them since we mixed them all together in the same basket with the other types, and worse, since we in part used plastic bags to collect them… and plastic makes mushrooms ferment. After so much anticipation, we were devastated. Maybe the secret to mushroom success was inaccessible to us newbies.
It was Chachá who saved the day. Going back to Saint-Bonnet, we tried a new spot, hoping for better luck this time. Climbing a steep hill to reach the promised land we stood there breathless, but to our dismay this spot looked even worse than the last one — there were less mushrooms in both quantity and variety. To top it off, on our way back down, it started raining. We were scattered in three different corners of the woods when I suggested we should just call it off and go home. As we reluctantly headed down, I saw Chachá stooped over some bright yellow mushrooms. “I think they’re chanterelles!” he exclaimed in cheerful Portuguese. Once we started finding them, we just had to follow the path that naturally connected their growth clumps. It got to a point where we ran out of containers and had to use our sweaters to grab more. We ended up getting over 1 kg of chanterelles, which for a small mushroom is quite a lot!
Although the Marcon restaurant (with the cheapest menu starting at 360 euros per person) is off-limits for us at this point, we were lucky enough to have one of their cooks prepare a meal with us at home! And what a treat that was, coming back inside on a chilly afternoon, spending hours making celeriac cream, squash, and toasts to accompany the wild mushrooms we had just foraged. In the end we had so much that we even used them for dessert! Chef Chachá showed us something we had scarcely fathomed before: caramel aux chanterelles.
Chanterelle tartines with poached egg, celeriac cream,
borage flower & yarrow leaves | Serves 2
The celeriac cream:
- 100g celeriac, peeled & diced
- 1 small onion
- 20g butter & some for greasing
- 400 ml whole milk
- balsamic vinegar
- salt & black pepper
- In a pot, melt some butter and start cooking the chopped onions until they become translucid.
- Add the chopped celeriac, season with salt & pepper, and cook for two minutes. Add the milk & let it simmer for an hour or until the celeriac is fully cooked. Make sure the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot by stirring often.
- In a mixer, pour the celeriac blend and add 20g of butter. Mix thoroughly. Once a smooth consistency is reached, add a pinch of nutmeg and a dash of balsamic vinegar and mix briefly again before serving.
Note: you can make this recipe in larger quantities and serve the leftover as a great side-dish for meats or fish. Mixing less thoroughly will give you more of a purée consistency.
The sautéed chanterelles:
- 300-400g fresh chanterelle mushrooms
- fleur de sel & black pepper
- Start by cutting off the tips of the chanterelles’ feet. Then, clean using a brush and a damp cloth to remove all the earth. If necessary, rinse quickly under cold water and dry them in a clean cloth.
- These mushrooms are best when cooked quickly on high heat. Grease your pan with some olive oil, or ideally duck/goose fat, and turn the heat up. Once the pan is very hot, put the mushrooms in all at once. Season with salt & pepper and stir frequently.
- If needed, turn the heat down to medium-high in order to avoid burning. The chanterelles should get tender within a few minutes and ready to be eaten! Keep the chanterelles in the pot and cover until your tartines are ready.
- Two thick slices of bread
- fleur de sel
- With a rectangular cookie cutter, cut neat rectangles out of each bread slice. If you don’t have a cookie cutter, use a knife.
- On medium heat, melt some butter in a pan, add the bread slices and season. Turn them over every 30 seconds until both sides are nicely grilled.
The poached eggs:
- 2 farm eggs
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- salt for boiling water
- In a medium-sized pot, bring salted water to a boil.
- Put 2 tsp of white vinegar in two small bowls (one tsp in each) and crack one egg in each bowl.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir the boiling water in order to create a whirlpool in the pot. Gently tip over one cracked egg into the water. Cook for 2-3 minutes for a soft yolk or 3-4 minutes for a firmer consistency. Make sure to skim the foam from the water while cooking.
- Repeat step 3 for the second egg.
Putting it all together:
- A few borage (starflower) flowers
- A few yarrow leaves
- Start with the toast at the bottom, put a layer of mushrooms on it, followed by the poached egg. Top it with a spoonful of celeriac cream.
- Decorate with the borage flowers & the yarrow leaves, both of which are edible, delicious, and seasonal.
Note: for a different presentation, start by pouring the celeriac cream in a soup plate. Place the toast in the center, then the mushrooms, the egg and finally the flowers & leaves.
Pink pear cardamom muffins & chanterelle salted caramel
| For 14-16 muffins
The pear muffins:
- 4 pink pears
- 300g all-purpose flour
- 3 farm eggs
- 200g brown sugar
- 8g baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- the zest & juice of 1/2 lime
- 50g salted butter, melted
- powdered sugar for presentation
- Peel and core the pears. Keep the peelings and put them, along with the melted butter, eggs, and sugar in a mixer. Mix well and reserve.
- Dice the peeled pears into very small cubes and put them in a bowl with the lime zest & juice as well as the cardamom. Mix well and reserve for 15 minutes.
- In another bowl, sift the flour and baking powder. Add the egg mix and blend until homogenous. Then, add the diced pears.
- Pour in a buttered muffin baking pan or a silicon pan and bake for app. 20-30 min in a preheated convection oven at 180°C.
- Once baked, remove from pan while still hot and place on a rack to cool.
The chanterelle salted caramel:
- 80g sugar
- 80g single cream, hot
- 63g salted butter & some to cook the chanterelles
- 50-80g chanterelle mushrooms depending on taste
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- In a pan, on medium heat, melt some salted butter and add the chanterelles. Cook them for a couple of minutes and add 2 tbsp brown sugar. Caramelize the chanterelles a few minutes to taste.
- Heat up the single cream in the microwave or in a pot.
- In a separate pot, on medium heat, start pouring the sugar little by little until it melts and starts browning. Use a hard spatula or a wooden spoon to stir and make sure it doesn’t brown too much or else the caramel will have a bitter taste.
- Once you reach the desired color, quickly add the boiling cream, stirring vigorously. As you pour the cream, some lumps may form but keep stirring and bring to a boil in order to make them dissolve. In case you can’t get rid of all of them, manually remove them from the pot.
- Off the heat, add the butter & the chanterelles and stir until well blended.
- Pour over the cooled muffins and dust with powdered sugar.