Crusts of Chanterelles with Fines Herbes

Croûtes aux Girolles aux Fines Herbes

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Servings:

    4

Appears in

Simple French Food

By Richard Olney

Published 1974

  • About

The bread and butter cases afford an attractive presentation but may be replaced by a scattering of croutons. To easily carve the cases, the bread should be of a relatively heavy, firm-textured body and not too fresh. Light-bodied loaves will have to be deep frozen to be workable.

Chanterelles throw off much more liquid in contact with heat than any of the other commonly used mushrooms and this liquid should be drained off. It is flavorful and may be added to soups or reduced to a syrup and added to sauces—in particular the butter-bound juices of sautéed chicken or rabbit that take the sautéed chanterelles as garnish. If the chanterelles were permitted to remain in their juices until those juices were reduced and reabsorbed, they would become tough and rubbery from overcooking. After having picked them over, discarding any spongy specimens and trimming earthy stem tips, wash them briskly, drain them, and put them, lightly sprinkled with salt, into a heavy, tightly covered saucepan over a high flame. Hold the lid tightly in place and shake the pan over the flame to prevent their sticking to the bottom. No sooner will the heat have thoroughly penetrated them than they will be completely submerged in their liquid. As soon as it reaches a full, foamy boil, remove the chanterelles from the heat, drain them in a sieve, pressing gently with the back of a wooden spoon, and put them aside. Raw, chanterelles should be absolutely fresh, firm, and dry, but, once heated and drained, they may be refrigerated for a day or so in a tightly covered bowl without suffering.

Ingredients

  • 4 2- to 2½-inch thicknesses stale white bread, crusts removed, rounds or squares of approximately inches in diameter
  • ½ to ¾ cup butter (in all)
  • pounds chanterelles, cleaned, heated, and drained (as explained above)
  • Fines herbes (1 tablespoon chopped parsley, chervil, and chives in equal quantities plus a few leaves of finely chopped tarragon)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • Salt, pepper
  • cup heavy cream
  • ½ lemon

Method

Use a sharp and sharply pointed paring knife to hollow out the bread cases, cutting downward to within about ½ inch from the bottom and forming ½-inch walls. Pierce the case ½ inch from the bottom and, cutting in a swivel-like motion without widening the point of entry, free the inside section of breadcrumbs, which may then be lifted out with little or no tearing. Spread all the surfaces, inside and out, with well-softened butter (or brush with melted butter) and dry them out on a baking sheet in a 325° oven, turning the heat up or down as necessary to achieve an evenly golden crispness on all of the exterior surfaces and, to this same end, turning them around, onto their sides, or upside down several times over a period of 25 or 30 minutes. Start to cook the mushrooms only when the crusts are nearly ready.

Stew the chanterelles gently in a heavy saucepan with about 2 tablespoons butter, tossing or stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally, for about 10 minutes, stirring in most of the fines herbes a couple of minutes before removing from the heat. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Whisk together the egg yolks, salt, pepper, and cream, stir it into the mushrooms and, stirring all the while, cook over a low heat until the sauce begins to perceptibly thicken, lightly coating the spoon—it must not approach a boil. Remove from the heat, taste for seasoning, stir in a few drops of lemon juice to taste, fill the crusts, and sprinkle a pinch of fines herbes over each.