About this time of year when most folks are thinking culinarily of apples and pumpkins and winter squash, I begin to think about mushrooms. I have no earthly explanation for this (see postscript below), but as soon as I feel that bit of fall chill, I start to crave them. I’ve already made our infamous mushroom burger and am about to make my not-so-infamous, not-yet-blogged mushroom fettuccine (I promise that will be forthcoming), and I have this on my radar for the weekend. I'm also craving my creamy mushroom soup that I just realized I haven't posted yet; I need to get that up here too. Lots more mushroom goodness to come, people! Oh, I hope you like mushrooms.
But yesterday I got around to making this beautiful galette that I’ve been planning since Labor Day. Actually it was the week after Labor Day that I began to think about it and started jotting down notes about what and how and ingredients, etc. I figured it would take at least 2 or 3 attempts, so I bought copious amounts of mushrooms and blue cheese and onions and to my everlasting delight, nailed it on the first go-round. Fortunately, at the last minute, I decided to go ahead and get out the camera, and lordy, am I ever glad I did. Cuz that meant I could share all of this deliciousness with you.
Oh man, I know I’m going to have a hard time describing to you how really incredibly good this was. The flavors and textures all just sort of sang in harmony which blended nicely with the mmmmmmmmmm’s that were emanating from the table. There were tender, mushroom-y mushrooms, fresh herbs, sweet caramelized onions and creamy, tangy blue cheese all encased in a flaky, buttery pie crust. I know, I know. I’m not even exaggerating.
But let’s talk about that pie crust for a minute, because it’s sort of the star of this whole shootin’ match. Use your favorite, which hopefully happens to also be homemade. (here's my recipe). But if not, store-bought will work as well as a thawed sheet of puff pastry.
Now you might be wondering when you would serve something like a mushroom galette. We actually had it as part of an appetizer dinner that we do pretty often with a special bottle of wine. So it would be great as a first course or appetizer, but it would also be super scrumptious as a side to roasted meat or chicken, a savory brunch dish, or a great late night meal for two. It would also make a nice vegetarian option to any meal. I can personally attest to the fact that it goes swimmingly well with a glass of lusty cabernet sauvignon.
I do hope you have been deeply influenced by my powerfully compelling rhetoric and are even now adding mushrooms to your shopping list. Here’s the recipe…
POSTSCRIPT: Since I wrote this post, I think I've discovered why I crave mushrooms when winter sets in! I just heard that mushrooms are one of the very few foods that contain significant amounts of Vitamin D, and as our exposure to sunlight wanes during the winter months, it totally makes sense that one would crave foods that replenish Vitamin D, which is mostly provided by sunlight. I knew there must be a logical explananation for this craving, and there you have it! Now, here's the recipe...
Mushroom Galette with Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese
While the directions for this galette might look rather long and tedious, it really is pretty easy to put together. Like the Italian crostata, a galette is meant to be rustic and free-form, so don’t worry about it being too perfect. I used my homemade pie crust, but you can certainly use store bought or a thawed sheet of puff pastry. (I used 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of shortening, 1/4 cup of cold butter, and just enough water, about 6 tablespoon, to moisten it). Any mushrooms will do in this, but I like the more flavorful crimini, chanterelle and shitake. As for the herbs, use what is readily available to you – dried sage and thyme would be fine too.
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or 4-6 as a brunch dish
½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
1 small-ish onion, thinly sliced
1 ½ tablespoons butter
10 oz mushrooms (any mix you like), cleaned and sliced (see headnote)
1 tablespoon butter,
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme) (see headnote)
1 to 2-oz blue cheese, crumbled
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 9-inch pie crust dough (see headnote)
1 egg, beaten with a little water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Melt the 1 ½ tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a 9 or 10- inch skillet and then add the sliced onions. Saute until they start to take on some color and then lower the heat under the skillet to sort of a medium low heat. Let the onions continue to cook and brown for about 20 to 25 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so. The onions should be a dark golden brown when they’re done. If it seems to be taking too long for them to brown, increase the heat a little. When they’re done, remove to a plate to cool.
While the onions are cooking, place the dried mushrooms into the boiling water, pushing them down to make sure they’re all submerged. Let these soak for about 15 to 20 minutes and then drain. You can reserve the liquid for stock or soup if you like. Chop the mushrooms and set aside.
Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter with the tablespoon of olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over high heat and add the sliced fresh mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until they are softened and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Add the herbs, a sprinkling of kosher salt and fresh black pepper and sauté another 5 minutes. There should be no excess liquid in the pan. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Place the mushrooms on a plate to cool and mix with the softened dried porcinis.
Place a large piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Roll out the pie dough to an 11 or 12 –inch circle and place on the parchment paper. Place the mushrooms in the center of the dough, leaving a 2 ½ to 3-inch border all the way around. Top the mushrooms with the caramelized onions and then fold the pie dough towards the center, overlapping where necessary. The mushrooms should be exposed in the center.
Brush the crust with the beaten egg and a sprinkling of kosher salt and place the galette in the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is just golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the top of the galette with the blue cheese and any fresh herbs that you might have leftover. Slice and serve immediately.