|Chanterelle Mushroom Quiche|
Like any good mother, my mother has always been two steps ahead of me. When I first developed my real passion for cooking and for incorporating the unusual ingredient, she was always there to warn me of the dangers. Mostly, this focused on common sense stuff, such as: not eating raw meat (never listened), not eating sushi (she came from a generation where they cooked their fish), and especially, never eating wild mushrooms unless the person who had foraged for them was an expert.
When she discovered a book in my apartment on identifying wild mushrooms, like any responsible parent she somehow found the mother lode of newspaper articles depicting stories of people dispatched by their wild mushroom meals. One, that I remember more clearly than the others, told the story of a couple who had a dinner party where they served a course highlighting the wild mushrooms they had foraged earlier in the day. The next morning, all eight diners were found slumped over the table.
I don’t tell this story to scare you, but it certainly scared me enough to dispense with any foraging fantasies spinning through my mind. Instead, I rely on the kindness of strangers for my wild mushrooms.
One night while dining out, I had a delectable appetizer of sauteed Chanterelle mushrooms with cream. It was served quite simply, over a piece of toasted brioche and topped with a poached egg. It was so phenomenal that each of us who had ordered it as a starter picked up our plates and licked them clean (when the waiter wasn’t looking, of course).
It was so good that I dreamed of the dish night after restless night and when I lamented to Mr. B that I couldn’t possibly live out the rest of my days, let alone the week, without sampling it again, he suggested we go out for a hike and see if we couldn’t find our own treasure trove of chanterelles.
Never, ever, ever tell my mother this, but I dug out my old mushroom identification book, laced up my hiking boots, and hit the trail with Mr. B. On our hike we found one solitary mushroom. It wasn’t golden like the chanterelles in the pictures, but Mr. B swore up and down that it was a rare white chanterelle and sure enough, it did look a bit like the picture in the book. We brought it home and spent the next several hours daring the other to eat it, but to no avail. Eventually, it went to live in the terrarium with my orchid and I went back to dreaming of chanterelles.
Not long after, and without knowing the details of the story or the depth of my cravings, a friend showed up unannounced one evening. When we opened the door, we found him muddy and wet and holding out a box of what appeared to be muddy yellow rocks.
“I’m not sure if you guys like these, but we have two tables covered with them so I thought I’d bring some over,” he said. Then lowered the box so we could get a better view.
Mr. B, whose eyes always seem to focus more quickly than mine, exclaimed, “Why they’re chanterelle mushrooms!”
I like to be polite. Especially in front of company. So, I just jumped up and down and squealed and giggled, then threw my arms around my friend until I, too, was covered in mud.
Later while Mr. B cleaned the mushrooms, I took a shower. Then we made this quiche and stuffed ourselves past the point of comfort, but not too full to fall fast asleep and dream of foraging wild mushrooms.
Chanterelle Mushroom Quiche
Chanterelle mushrooms, washed, cleaned and sliced
Heavy whipping cream
Farm fresh eggs
Salt and pepper
Prepared pie crust (homemade or store bought)
Heat a large pan over medium heat until the pan is hot, but not smoking. Add the mushrooms. Do not stir and do not add any fat to the pan. Allow the mushrooms to cook 3-5 minutes or until they easily release, then stir and continue to cook until both sides are brown.
Add a hunk of butter. The more the merrier. Chanterelle mushrooms have flavor compounds that are fat soluble, so the fat makes them taste more delicious. Allow the butter to melt and pick up the caramelized bits of mushroom in the pan.
Drizzle in the heavy whipping cream until the mushrooms are thickly coated. Do not boil. Turn off the heat and top with thyme leaves, salt and pepper.
Unroll a prepared pie crust into a removable bottom tart pan and press the dough into the fluted edges. Pat dough down to fit it to the contours of the pan. Trim dough; prick dough with a fork and put into a 350º oven until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Top with mushroom and cream mixture.
Whisk together 6-8 (depending on your tart pan size) farm fresh eggs and pour over the mushroom mixture. Return to the oven and bake until egg mixture is set.
Cool slightly before removing tart from pan and slicing.