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For the love of mushrooms

March 12, 2018

I lucked into a massive pile of mushroom at a recent farm event which left me with mushrooms for miles. Woodsy in flavor and so satisfying - we ate every morsel. Mushrooms are equally at home as the star of a meal or playing a supporting role. They love cheese, eggs, and lemon (among other things) - all of which are used in abundance in the following 3 recipes.

 

Mushroom Quiche

 

I've tried many quiche recipes over the years and have found none better than Madame Quiche's Quiche au Fromage from Bon Apétit circa 1999.  It has a beautiful light and creamy custard and is a perfect base for all sorts of experimentation. The nutmeg is NOT optional.  Try it and you'll find yourself singing La Marseillaise.  

 

Crust - makes enough dough for a 10 1/2 inch tart pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Large pinch sea salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut in small pieces

3 to 5 tablespoons chilled water 

 

Place the flour and the salt in the bowl of a food processor and process to mix. Cut the butter in chunks and add it to the flour. Pulse until the butter is incorporated into the flour and the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse, just until the pastry beings to hold together in large clumps. Turn the pastry out onto a floured work surface and gather it into a ball. Wrap in plastic and push flat shaping into a disc approximately 1" high. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

 

Once chilled, take dough out of fridge and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Roll out the pastry to fit a 10-1/2 inch glass or metal pie plate. Crimp the edges, poke the bottom with a fork or the tip of a sharp knife, and place the pastry in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line the pastry with aluminum foil or parchment paper, fill with pastry weights and bake in the bottom third of the oven until the pastry is golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Take pastry out of the oven and remove the foil/paper and pastry weights. Return the pastry to the oven to bake until the bottom is golden, an additional 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.

 

Filling

1/2 medium yellow onion or 2 shallots - diced

8 oz sliced mushrooms

1 tsp lemon juice

6 large eggs

2/3 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche

1 cup milk (preferably whole)

8 ounces gruyère, or fontina or similar cheese, grated

 

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

 

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the bottom of a heavy skillet over medium heat, add onions and stir, season lightly with salt, cover, and cook until the onions are very tender and translucent, 5 minutes, add mushrooms and sauté until liquid is absorbed, add lemon juice and continue to sauté until everything is nice and brown. Remove from the heat, and spread over the pre-baked pastry.  Spread most of cheese over mushrooms, reserving 1/2 cup. 

 

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and the milk until thoroughly blended. Season with salt and pepper. Turn the mixture over mushrooms and cheese into the pre-baked pastry. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese and nutmeg, and bake in the center of the oven until the filling is golden and puffed, and is completely baked through, about 30 minutes. To test for doneness, shake the quiche gently - if it is solid without a pool of uncooked filling in the center, it is done. You may also stick a sharp knife blade into the center of the filling and if it comes out clean, the quiche is baked through. Remove the quiche from the oven and serve immediately.  Lovely with a simple green salad.

 

Mushroom Kale Quesadilla - makes 2 quesadillas

 

I'm always on the hunt for an easy dinner. I give myself one star if I can come up with something from ingredients I already have, two stars if I can make the meal in a single pan, and three if I can get the whole shebang on the table in 20 minutes. Three stars is definitely rare, but possible! The mushroom quesadilla was just the ticket.  I always have tortilla shells, eggs, cheese, and some sort of green ready for sauteéing in the fridge.

 

4 tbsp olive oil - divided

6 oz mushrooms - shiitake, portabello, oyster, button - any will do good, roughly chopped

salt & pepper

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped white onion 

big pinch ground cumin

2 oz/1 cup grated cheese - gruyere/young fontina/monterey jack...any of these and/or others will work

1/2 bunch of kale leaves, destemmed and chopped

2 tortilla shells

 

Place a sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.  When it shimmers add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté 3 minutes until mushrooms release liquid and begin to brown. Add lemon juice, allowing mushrooms to absorb, then add onion and sauté an additional 2 minutes until entire mixture is golden brown.  Add chopped kale and cover for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Transfer to large bowl.  Add grated cheese and cumin, stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Wipe out your sauté pan and place back on burner over medium heat.  Place one tortilla shell down and heat for approximately 30 seconds,  Flip tortilla shell and place 1/2 of mushroom mixture in the center of  tortilla and fold in half. Flip filled tortilla turning once after about a minute so that tortilla is browned on both sides and cheese is melted.  

 

Goes very well with a fried egg! 

 

Farro with Mushrooms - serves 6 as a side dish

 

 

I've become a bit of a farro freak this past year. It's nutty, earthy and a fantastic texture paired with any roasted vegetable and a sprinkle of herbs.  Most farro recipes I've found instruct you to cook the farro forever, but there is a quick cooking variety easily found at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Shoprite, that is ready in 10 minutes - as fast as any pasta.  It's so flexible to cook with and healthy, I always keep a package in my pantry.

 

1 cup 10 - minute farro

2 shallots - chopped

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 oz. mushrooms (such as maitake, chanterelle, and/or oyster), torn or cut into large pieces

Freshly ground black pepper

2 sprigs thyme

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup chopped fresh basil (or cilantro or dill...)

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 ounces Parmesan, shaved, plus more for serving

 

Cook farro in a medium pot of boiling salted water until tender, 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.

 

Meanwhile, cook shallots in vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, swirling pan occasionally to keep shallots from burning, until golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Let cool. Set shallot cooking oil aside.

 

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high until just beginning to smoke. Arrange mushrooms in skillet in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until undersides are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper, toss, and continue to cook, tossing often and reducing heat as needed to avoid scorching, until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes longer.

 

Reduce heat to medium and add thyme sprigs, garlic, and butter to skillet. Tip skillet toward you so butter pools at edge and use a spoon to baste mushrooms with foaming butter; cook until butter smells nutty. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a small bowl, leaving thyme and garlic behind.

 

Toss cooled farro, basil, parsley, lemon juice, 1 1/2 oz. Parmesan, and 2 Tbsp. reserved shallot oil in a large bowl to combine; season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms; toss again to combine.

 

Just before serving, top with fried shallots and more shaved Parmesan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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