Monday, July 22, 2019

Stuffed Tomatoes with Chanterelles and Black Currants

The Frenchman and I have enjoyed some very good chanterelle hunting, this hot summer. The glee of filling all your boxes and bags with the golden mushrooms is thrilling. It really is like a treasure hunt. And you can't help gloating about the fact that they are selling for $44.99 a pound at Union Market in Brooklyn.

After a happy hunt you are faced with the task of sorting and cleaning, and deciding how to eat them. There are worse dilemmas. I had a lot of fun devising new recipes for them. I cook instinctively, taking notes as I work. If we like what I make, the recipe is made again and again as I test it. The stuffed tomato recipe below is a keeper (I am addicted to stuffed summer tomatoes and could make a different version every night of the week).

Apart from the mushrooms we ate fresh, I pickled many, and quick-cooked and froze a stash, for later.

Chanterelles are more scented than they are flavorful. Fresh and raw their aroma is a lot like cooked apricots. But I like their texture, very much: it is substantial and meaty.

Stuffed Tomatoes with Chanterelles and Black Currants:

Makes 8 medium tomatoes

Here, aromatic chanterelles are complimented by tart and complex black currants.

This method also works very well with very young and tender chicken of the woods. If you do not have wild mushrooms, substitute chopped shiitakes or button mushrooms. Completely different flavor and texture, but not bad at all. And for a lower carb or keto version, omit the rice and bump up the walnuts.

Eat hot, at room temperature, or cold in the middle of the night.

8 oz chanterelles
8 medium tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup basmati rice
4 oz bacon, chopped
6 large scallions finely sliced (1.5 packed cups)
1/4 cup black currants (optional - substitute fresh sour cherries, or 2 tablespoons black currant jam)
1/4 cup (.8 oz) walnuts, chopped very finely
¼ cup finely chopped dill
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup red wine
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper

To clean the mushrooms: trim off any dry or bruised pieces. If they are dirty, soak for 20 minutes in a large, salted bowl of water. Drain and dry the mushrooms (or repeat the wash if there was a lot of debris in the water). Cut larger mushrooms into halves or quarters.

Cut the tops or bottoms off the tomatoes and scoop out their insides, using a spoon. Discard any hard core at the stem end. Reserve the cut-off lids and ½
cup of the flesh and juice (save the rest for gazpacho, tomato sauce, or Bloody Mary’s). Chop any large pieces finely. Arrange the hollow tomatoes in a skillet or baking dish and salt their naked insides.

In a small pot melt the butter over medium heat and toast the basmati in it for a couple of minutes. Add ¼ cup of water. Bring to a boil, lower to a faint simmer and cook for 5 minutes (it will not be fully cooked). Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook the bacon pieces over medium heat until the fat runs. Add half the the scallions and stir. Increase the heat to medium high and add the chanterelles. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring. Add the reserved tomato pulp and juice, currants (or sour cherries), nuts, rice, half the dill, and the thyme, and stir well. Add half the wine. Taste, and season with salt.

Stuff this mixture into the tomatoes and drizzle the olive oil over and between them. Top the tomatoes with the reserved tomato lids. Distribute the rest of the scallions and any leftover filling between the tomatoes. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Transfer to the hot oven and bake for 1¼ hours or until the tomatoes are beginning to caramelize and the bottom of the pan is syrupy. Halfway through cooking, add the rest of wine, and add splashes of water if the pan juices begin to stick.

Before serving, sprinkle with the Aleppo pepper.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much!!!
    I will try it as soon as I can find some chanterelle. The soil is so dry here that we have not found a single mushroom. I bought some yesterday but that's not the same and there was barely enough to make a tartine. Preparing a meal with things with foraged ingredients is so so satisfying.


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