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Morel Ragoût in Gorgonzola Cream
Makes 20

MUSHROOMS AND CREAM SAUCE are a classic combination. Adding Gorgonzola makes this dish even more delicious. If you have particularly large morels, or if you are substituting a different, larger type of mushroom, chop them into 1/4-inch pieces before cooking so they will fit on the toasts. Use dried morels reconstituted in warm water or fresh chanterelles, and a regular baguette instead of a ficelle if you prefer.

1 baguette or ficelle, cut diagonally into 20 slices 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long.

Olive oil

1 quart canola oil, for frying

20 baby spinach leaves

Fleur de sel

FOR THE RAGOÛT

10 ounces morels

Olive oil

2 tablespoons minced shallots

1 cup heavy cream

4 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.

2. Place the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toast in the oven for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheet until ready to serve.

3. Fill a medium saucepan with canola oil. Clip a deep-frying thermometer to the side of the pan and heat the oil to 350° F.

4. Deep-fry the spinach leaves in small batches, leaving them in the oil for 10 to 15 seconds. Do not crowd the pan, and maintain theoil at steady 350° F. When they are done, remove the leaves from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt.

5. Clean the morels to make sure they are free of dirt and bugs and cut them into 1/4-inch pieces if necessary. Place enough olive oil in a wide pot to coat the bottom and heat it over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook without browning for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the morels and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook until the morels release their juices and begin to soften. Add the cream, raise the heat to high, and cook until the liquid has reduced by three-fourths, 5 to 6 minutes. Whisk in the crumbled Gorgonzola and season with salt and pepper.

6. Place 1/2 tablespoon of the mushroom ragoût on each toast. Garnish with a small pinch of fleur de sel and a fried spinach leaf. Arrange on a serving platter and serve warm.

from "Bite Size" by François Payard
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROGÉRIO VOLTAN © 2006


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