meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8b08da541f8a920e6 Marie Z Johnston: Abundant Fall Chantrelles make for Great Omelettes

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Abundant Fall Chantrelles make for Great Omelettes

The brilliant, golden Girolles are unmistakable in the market place
Fall back in California is marked by the arrival of pumpkins at the local farmers markets. One of the first clues that fall has indeed arrived in Paris is the appearance of Girolles (what we English speakers call Chantrelles) in the marchées.  Oh sure, there have been plenty of Lithuanian, Russian and Polish Girolles up till now, but it is the arrival of the FRENCH, brilliant orange, Girolle that marks the change of season.

A golden brown exterior with a soft, gooey interior is exactly what makes a great omlette
Which brings me to Omelettes. There is really nothing that highlights the subtle, meaty, earthy, nutty flavor of Girolles like an omelette.  Simple!  You say... not so fast.  There is a world of difference between an old school French omelette and what passes for an omelette these days. I should know, my mother was "Janine the Omelette Queen"!
Christophe aka "Monsieur Champi"
Monsieur 'Champi', as Christophe is called by his many clients, knows a lot about wild mushrooms.  He is the 'Mushroom Man' in my world, the purveyor of whichever delicious fungi is currently popping up in the local French countryside, and a font of knowledge when it comes to cooking, cleaning and caring for your 'schrooms'.

 can't you just hear these beauties calling out to you?

You can find "M. Champi" on Saturdays at the Marché Saxe-Breteuil in the 7th
and on Sundays at the Marché Grenelle in the 15th.  The rest of the week Christophe is either collecting mushrooms from his 'pickers' in the countryside or delivering to chefs across the city.

Wash the Girlolles in a bowl of water
Here is how Christophe told me to prepare the Girolle - which surprised me at first - since it runs contrary to everything I had ever been told in the past!  But... I promise that once you try this method, you will be convinced, as I was.

1) Quickly wash the mushrooms in a bowl of fresh, clean water.. they can even soak there a minute or two. Then drain them completely and gently dry the girolles in a dish towel.  You can keep them wrapped in this way for several days in your fridge.

The liquid you see is coming from the mushrooms...
2) Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms but DO NOT ADD oil or butter.... Just the mushrooms in the hot, dry skillet.  Liquid will begin to come out of the mushrooms. Stir frequently.

All this liquid is coming out of the mushrooms
3) When the pan is all foamed up with liquid (see photo above) cook a few more seconds then carefully pour all the liquid down the drain.  At this point you can add butter or olive oil (or a bit of both) salt and pepper, minced shallots if you like and chopped parsley.  Cook a few more minutes, until the shallots are translucent.  Then turn off the heat and set aside.

Now for that omelette:

 Three Egg Girolle Omelette


3                Organic, Free Range Chicken Eggs - at room temperature
               Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tblspns    Water
                  Salt and pepper to taste


1)  Crack the three eggs into a bowl, add 3 tblspns water (1 tblspn water per egg)  Beat the eggs with a fork until frothy. (do not add salt - it makes the eggs tough)

2) Put the butter in a pan heated over medium heat.  Do NOT stir. 

3)  Let the butter melt undisturbed until the bottom of the pan is all frothy with butter. (meanwhile, keep beating those eggs)

4) Swirl the butter around the pan and add the eggs.

5) Using your fork, push the cooked sides of the omelette into the center of the pan. Swirl the uncooked liquid to the edges.  Repeat until the the omelette is cooked and there is very little egg liquid remaining in the center. (this will take about 2 minutes) Turn the heat to low.

6) Add as much of those delicious cooked girolles to what will be the lower half of your omelette. (I am left handed, so when holding my pan, the filling is on the right side, or lower half, or my pan)

 7) Gently slide the omelette toward the edge of your pan and the waiting plate. With the help of a spatula, fold the top third over the filling, and then fold the eggs again onto your plate.  NOW add salt and pepper. 

See, the center of your omelette should be cooked yet still moist.  This method works for all fillings.

Serve with a green salad and glass of Cotes du Rhone or Sancerre for a delicious lunch or dinner. 

It is odd for me not to see pumpkins at the markets here, and I do miss them (especially  the pumpkin pies they yield) But since our orange vegetable this season is Girolle, I'm having to make due. While the French have begun celebrating 'a leur façon', (it is funny to see vampires and pirates on the metro) I do miss the groups of little kids in their costumes going door to door for trick or treat.

I hope that everyone stateside has a safe and warm Halloween with those you love. 

A Bientot,

PS.  At the moment I'm working on a chicken pot pie with girolles and fresh shelled beans. Stay tuned for that post, as I'll be making a recipe big enough to serve dinner for 4 as well as 3 small pot pies for your freezer!  Guess what?  It's really, really good.

1 comment:

croquecamille said...

I love mushroom season! Wild mushrooms are some of my favorite things, and it's so great to see them all piled up at the market. :)