Sunday, November 3, 2013

Food Blogging: French Omelets with Mushrooms

One of the uses of the mushrooms that I picked up for experimentation was to make omelets.  So this morning after fortifying myself with some coffee, I dug into the prep work and starting making omelets.

I picked up two different kinds of mushrooms, girolles and trumpettes noir.  Neither of these are exclusive to France.  The girolles are known as golden chanterelles in the US, and the trumpettes are known as black trumpets in the US (I think).

First, the ingredients:

Here's the list:

  • a half-dozen fresh eggs (large)
  • sweet butter
  • cheese: comté jeune (or gruyère or some other easy-melting cheese, cheddar is probably too much for this)
  • ham (smoked)
  • golden chanterelle mushrooms (about 50-100g)
  • black trumpet mushrooms (about 50-100g)

The mushrooms are wild-picked, these varieties are very difficult to grown domestically, as the form symbiotic relationships with the trees that they're found under.  Or at least that's the theory.  They're not well-understood.  But they're very tasty.

The Girolles:

That's a photo of them before washing, as I got them from the green-grocer.  They have a surprisingly fruity/floral taste, with a peppery finish.  I commonly see "apricot and pepper" used to described the flavor.

The Trumpettes Noirs:

Here are the trumpets, unwashed. I found some small leaves in some of them while I was cleaning. A nice reminder that they are wild-picked mushrooms. These are a very meaty, strongly flavored mushroom. In retrospect, I think they're a bit too strong for these omelets, but I think they would do exceptionally well as the mushrooms in something like Beef Bourguignon.

On to the prep work...

I carefully washed the girolles, paying special attention to anything that might have been stuck between the gills of the mushrooms. Then patted them dry with paper towels.

Then I cut off the ends and sliced them the long way.

Followed by the short way, to dice them into small (5mm) pieces.

Then I carefully washed the trumpets, splitting each one open.  Unlike the girolles, which are solid, the trumpets are hollow like, well, trumpets.  Stuff can be stuck in them (leaves, dirt, "stuff", etc.).  So these took a lot more attention to make sure that I had them fully clean.

Like the girolles, I first cut them longwise, and then short-wise to dice them.

Having prepped the mushrooms, I decided the ham, and shredded the cheese, setting up a mise en place for cooking the omelet itself.  They can go fast, so everything in its place ahead of time makes it a lot less stressful.

Except, I first needed to sauté the mushrooms.  The flavors are mostly oil-soluble, so a quick sauté in butter both makes them easier to eat (texture-wise), and really makes the flavors pop.

Some butter in a pan on medium heat, and then add in the mushrooms.  I sautéed them separately, and ended up using too much butter for the girolles, and ended up over-cooking them.  I should have pulled them from the heat instead of taking the time to snap this photo...

So I cut back on the butter I used with the trumpets.

I transferred the mushrooms back into their bowls, to await being added to the omelet.

Then it was time to wipe out the pan, and make the omelet itself.

I cracked two eggs into a bowl, added a dash of salt and some freshly cracked black pepper, and beat heavily (~80 strokes).  Then I poured the beaten eggs into a pan pre-warmed on medium heat, and started stirring the eggs continuously with a wooden chopstick.  This breaks up the surface, and makes for some fluffier eggs.

As the eggs started to set, I layered first with ham, then cheese, and then the mushrooms.

Since this was the first time I made these, I put the different kinds of mushrooms in different, overlapping regions so I could taste a range of ratios in the final result.

The first was a 2-egg omelet, and didn't quite seem to have enough body to it.

But when I used three eggs for the second, it was a bit too much.  It was certainly easier to roll the first omelet in the proper French style (vs. the fold as is usually done in the US).

And... then it cracked open as I transferred it from the pan to the plate.  A little more comté on top, and some parsley for color, et voilà!

The final verdict was that the golden chanterelles went superbly with the ham in the omelet.  The trumpets, however, were perhaps a bit much.

As we still have a bunch of mushrooms left to play with, so I'm sure more will follow (so long as we remember to have one of us take photos while cooking).