Kurt and I share a fondness for blue cheese, so my first stop in the book was at the recipe titled Wild Mushrooms with Sourdough Toast and Thyme Stichelton Creme Fraiche. I made a few changes to keep the sourcing at least a little closer to home. We have fresh, locally-cultivated mushrooms that are available year-round, so I used local shitakes. I usually have thyme in my herb garden, but it died back during one of our freezes this winter. I substituted rosemary for it since I always have rosemary growing in multiple spots in our yard. And, last, rather than using Stichelton which is a British-made, raw milk, blue cheese, I used Jasper Hill Farms’ Bayley Hazen Blue which is also a raw milk blue. On little pieces of sourdough baguette, these mushroom toasts are a great appetizer. The mushrooms were sliced and then sauteed in some oil with chopped rosemary (or thyme). They were left to brown a bit before being stirred and turned. When fully cooked, butter was added to the mushrooms with a sprinkling of sea salt. The topping is an easy mix of creme fraiche, blue cheese, and some rosemary in my case that was combined in the blender. The sauteed mushrooms were spooned onto pieces of toasted bread and topped with the blue cheese creme fraiche. My rosemary still had some flowers clinging to the sprigs which I used as garnish.
I might have made some extra blue cheese creme fraiche and learned that it also makes a fabulous dipping sauce for roasted potato wedges. But, it was perfect with the mushroom toasts. They were crunchy and savory and a nice start to a meal on one of our chilly days. I’ll be looking back to this book for inspiration as the seasons change and different ingredients are at their best.
Wild Mushroom with Sourdough Toast and Thyme Stichelton Creme Fraiche
Recipe reprinted with publisher's permission from The Ethicurean Cookbook (Ebury Press).
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
300g mixed wild mushrooms, such as slippery jack, penny bun, russula, horse mushroom, sheep’s foot and puffballs, cleaned and sliced into 1cm strips
leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
25g unsalted butter
8 very thin slices of sourdough bread
fine sea salt flaky sea salt
For the thyme Stichelton creme fraiche:
25g Stichelton cheese, roughly chopped
75ml creme fraiche
leaves from 5 sprigs of thyme
For the thyme Stichelton creme fraiche, put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to a semi- coarse consistency. Season with salt to taste and set aside.
Place a large frying pan over a high heat and leave until it is very hot. Add the rapeseed oil; it should begin to smoke. Immediately add the mushrooms and thyme leaves, plus a dusting of fine salt, and toss to coat them evenly with the oil. Leave undisturbed for a minute or so, until the mushrooms colour ever so slightly, then toss and colour on the other side. Remove from the heat and add the butter to the pan. Toss until it has melted and the mushrooms are evenly coated, then check the seasoning.
While the mushrooms are cooking, put the sourdough bread under a hot grill and toast, turning every minute, until both sides are golden brown. Thin slices of bread will curl under the grill, and the regular turning prevents this happening. Remove the sourdough from the grill and add a couple of slices to each plate. Cover with the mushrooms, season with flaky sea salt and add a heaped tablespoon of the Stichelton creme fraiche.
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