Friday, August 26, 2005
Two ways with a glorious pile of chantarelle mushrooms
I sneaked out of the post-symposium summer course one day, and my sister was kind enough to drive me (and mum and both nephews) out of town, to Lahemaa. Lahemaa is a beautiful nature reservoir on the North coast of Estonia. While taking a stroll towards the sea in Võsu, I spotted some chantarelle mushrooms at a small stall and was glad to realise they're about 25% cheaper than in Tallinn (that's about 3 quid instead of 4 per kilogram then - a bargain by any standard). I'll buy some on our way back, I said to myself. However, as we ended up really lingering over our 'ethnic' lunch, and then driving to one of the beautiful manor houses in search of a perfect carrot cake, we were too late for the mushrooms - the "market" would have been closed. As would have been the markets in Tallinn by the time we got back. My dream about a nice family dinner with new potatoes and mushroom sauce was about to remain just that, a dream. Sulk.
I comforted myself a little with buying couple of wooden spoons from the local handicraft shop just outside Sagadi manor house. While we were heading back to our car (quite time-consuming process, considering that the kids were determined to get touchy-feely with every single item on display in the shop), an elderly local woman approached us and asked quietly, if we'd like to buy some chantarelle mushrooms. As the last few days had seen too little rain, she had only managed to pick about a kilogram of mushrooms, and didn't think it would be worth to head to the local market in the following morning to sell them. And as she was keen to get rid of them, she offered them for just about 30 kroon (that's about £1.50 for a kg!). I couldn't believe my luck - especially as I had already given up hope of having mushrooms that evening!!!
We headed back to town, and enjoyed a very simple but oh so delicious meal of boiled new potatoes and thick-ish chantarelle mushroom sauce with loads of herbs from the garden (parsley and green onions on this occasion, although I had used dill couple of days earlier for - surprise, surprise - the very same dish when I had picked up some mushrooms from the market). That generously fed 4 adults and 2 kids, with plenty of mushrooms left for the following day.
Although chantarelle sauce is my favourite use for these particular funghi, I also really like a chantarelle quiche. And that's what I made the following night, to be eaten before another sauna session by my parents, my mum's youngest sister and her friend, and myself.
This was a very simple quiche - I used a potato shortcrust pastry again, although I replaced the potato with instant mash that was somehow hiding in the cupboard. But any shortcrust pastry would do, just remember to prebake it slightly.
For the filling, I chopped the mushrooms finely and dry-fried them on a non-stick pan. I added some minced onion, fried a little more, and then scattered the whole lot on the prebaked pastry case. I then topped with some cubed cheese (should have been grated, but couldn't locate a grater in my Mum's kitchen:). And then some single cream and eggs, seasoned with salt, pepper and some herbs again.
Baked the whole thing golden brown in the oven, and then served on the terrace with some white wine. Very-very nice and summery!!!