Saturday, November 26, 2005

Wild Mushroom Flan
Honesty compels that I not post this recipe without acknowledging the source and Betty Rosbottom who put the recipe out through Tribune Media Services. Though I have not tried to contact either, I post the recipe with the idea that it is fair use. And that I link to the original article. Besides, it's not like I'm making any money off this post....
Caveats caveated, let's on to the food!
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the ramekins
8 ounces mixed mushrooms such as shiitake, crimini and oyster
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, divided
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
4 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided

Butter 6 ½-cup ramekins, souffle or custard cups. Line them with rounds of parchment or waxed paper cut to fit the bottoms. Butter the papers. Place ramekins in a baking pan large enough to hold them in a single layer.
Rinse mushrooms well in a large strainer under cold water to remove any grit, then pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Remove and discard stems from shiitakes. Slice all mushrooms into bite-size pieces.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they are browned and softened and all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring 1 minute more. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, several grindings of black pepper and 1 tablespoon parsley. Divide mushrooms evenly among ramekins, covering bottom of each ramekin with some of the mixture.
In a mixing bowl whisk together cream, eggs, 1/3 cup Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grindings of pepper until well mixed. Transfer cream mixture to a 2-cup or larger measuring cup with a spout and pour it into the ramekins, filling them almost to the top.
Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Carefully place pan on center rack of preheated 350-degree oven. As flans bake, they will puff up. Bake until flans are set and a small, sharp knife inserted into centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Using potholders, remove ramekins from pan to a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Flans will deflate as they cool. (Flans can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and reheat, uncovered, on a baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree oven, 10 to 15 minutes.)
Loosen edges of flans with a small sharp knife, then invert flans and remove and discard paper. Place one flan on each of 6 salad plates and sprinkle with some of remaining cheese and parsley. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.
I don't know the size of the ramekins I have but I'm guessing they are larger than ½ cup as when I made my test batch, the recipe filled only four of them. When I made my six cup batch, I increased the filling by two eggs and ½ cup of half-and-half. I wouldn't have used half-and-half save for the fact that there was no heavy cream when I went to the store to resupply. It didn't seem to make a difference and I suppose there was a slight calorie savings.
My test run was with shiitakes only and I can say that the mixture of mushrooms is better. As delicious as shiitakes are, they tend to overwhelm the delicate flavor of the flan. Being a fun guy, I'd easily use half again as much mushroom in the recipe. But that's the nice thing about cooking, experiment to find what's best for you. Also, I didn't bother with the parsley. Next time I'll get the greenery in there. I'd also suggest that, should you try these cheat just a wee bit heavy on the salt and a good whack of good ground pepper will do you well.

Bottom line: These are quite the tasty little critters and not at all difficult to make. Mangia!

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