Cepe Mushroom Gratin Recipe
While strolling in an open-air market in Paris with my father, he noticed fresh cèpe mushrooms. If you've never seen them, they're quite large and brown, very similar to porcini mushrooms. In my opinion, these are very tasty mushrooms and Jean-Damien, my brother-in-law, had mentioned people go "hunting" for these wild mushrooms in the Parisian forests ("les forêts d'Ile-de-France"). Papa bought 2 small cases and I made a very simple mushroom gratin to showcase the unique flavor of these wonderful mushrooms.
I sautéed the cèpes in garlic and sweet basil. Then I transferred them to a gratin dish and covered them with alternating layers of Gruyère cheese and béchamel sauce. The result was a divine, creamy dish that suits the rainy weather we've experienced here in France.
Yields: 8 servings20 ounces cèpe mushrooms
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
3¾ cups milk, warmed for 2 minutes in the microwave
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
4 ounces Gruyère cheese, freshly shaved
1½ tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sweet basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
For the béchamel sauce:
In a saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat; you don't want the butter to burn. Bring the heat back up to medium-high (the butter should be hot and golden) and add flour. Keep stirring manually with a whisk for approximately 2-3 minutes. Stir until well combined and add the milk in 2-3 stages. Increase the heat while constantly stirring for about 5 minutes. Add 2 ounces cheese and reduce the heat to low. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let the sauce rest until it's time to assemble the dish.
Cooking the cèpes:
Trim the ends. Delicately brush the mushrooms. Pat dry on paper towels. Cut lengthwise into thick slices. Set aside.
In a sauté pan, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook until they're slightly golden, then add the garlic and cook . Melt the remaining butter and toss until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and toss well, sautéeing for 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a casserole dish greased with 1 tablespoon butter or oil (for easy clean up), add a layer of béchamel sauce. Cover with a layer of the mushroom mixture. Top with basil and shaved cheese. Repeat until all the ingredients are used.
Bake in the oven for 5 minutes at 400°F and broil for about 2-3 minutes to get a nice golden crust. Remove from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Cover with basil.
You could replace the fresh cèpes with dried cèpes or the mushroom of your choice (crimini, Portobello, or even shiitake).
To make white sauce, I always start with all the ingredients at the same temperature, so make sure to heat the milk in the microwave for about 2 minutes (or in a saucepan), so it's warm. If you get lumpy pieces in the sauce, don't hesitate to use a hand blender.October 9, 2012.