A few weeks ago I spent some time with Larry and Colleen. We ate several meals together: a dinner tucked away in a corner of a bookstore, candles lit and wine bottles uncorked, laughing and talking of life and work and life yet again. Then there was breakfast the next morning: dark coffee with cream and scones leaking blackberries and lemon. Larry lost himself in the local paper, Colleen stepped into the kitchen to make a second breakfast, and my little hobbit heart burst. She whisked and poured and soon brought it forth: a fresh-foraged chanterelle popover, straight from the pages of Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors. I had never had chanterelles before, and devoured them eagerly. Their texture was far removed from the shiitake, a mushroom I have tried to appreciate over and over, but their spongy texture always hindered me. But chanterelles! these mushrooms were smooth and easy; they mingled in the cream and nestled right down in the pancake.
We sat there, eating together again. We were silent, mostly, but chewing loudly; tasting ten years of words already spoken. They were there, in butter, and cream, and eggs. They whispered with each motion of the fork, each cut of the knife. We swallowed them together, and then set out for a long walk and time in the garden. We reached the front door and flung it wide open; we walked through to a bright blue sky and another decade of breaking bread together.
Not much is changed from the original recipe, although I did add a bit more cream, as we had wished for a bit more ‘sauce’.
1 pound chanterelles (or other mushroom, buttom mushrooms will work fine)
4 tablespoons butter
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2-3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon thyme, minced
1 tablespoon parsley leaves
Clean the mushrooms, and slice them. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400. Put 2 tablespoons of butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, and place it in the warm oven. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together. Add the flour slowly, and whisk until the batter is smooth. (Carefully) take the hot skillet out of the oven, and brush the melted butter inside the skillet and around the rim of the skillet. Add the cheese to the batter, and then pour it into the hot skillet. Place the skillet in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes (it will rise high over the edge of the skillet and puff in the center).
Melt the remaining butter (2 tablespoons) over high heat in another pan. Add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt, and cook until they begin to give off their juices. Cook the mushrooms until tender (about 5 more minutes) . Stir in the cream to the mushrooms and juices and allow to thicken slightly. Season them with pepper, and then stir in the thyme and parsley.