Summer Vegetable Duxelle

Summer Vegetable Duxelle by Chef Heather Immoor of The Wandering Cafe. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

As prepared by Chef Heather Immoor, The Wandering Cafe, for her cooking demonstration at Wallingford Farmers Market on July 18, 2012.

(Chef’s note: Though this recipe is for summer vegetables, you really can put anything you like in here: all mushrooms; winter root vegetables; all fennel and onion; potatoes and fennel, etc. Be creative! It’s a very forgiving recipe. It’ll be delicious regardless.)

Ingredients:

  • about 2.5 good-sized summer squash
  • about 5 medium bulbs spring onions, up to where the stem starts to go dark green
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 1 fat pint basket oyster (or other) mushrooms
  • 1 heaping tablespoon crushed garlic
  • ½ bunch dino or other heavy kale
  • heavy pint (about 18oz) white wine (something you’d drink, but nothing too fancy)
  • short pint (about 14oz) heavy cream
  • two fingers’ thickness worth of fresh thyme, tied with twine
  • extra virgin olive oil (“evoo”)
  • kosher salt
  • fresh pepper from a pepper mill
  • pinch nutmeg to taste

Toss in bundle of thyme wrapped in butcher’s twine. Leaves will cook off stems and into dish. Then remove stems before serving when dish is finished. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Preparation:

1) Slice, dice or chop all your vegetables into approximately ¼” chunks.

2) On medium-low heat, with a little evoo to prevent sticking, sweat out the garlic, fennel and spring onions.

3) When all that good stuff is transparent, turn the heat up to medium high and add your other vegetables (including the thyme) in three batches or so- adding each batch on top of the previous- to sear out the liquids. Shake the pan from time to time to prevent sticking, though some caramelization is good. A lot of water will evaporate out, especially from the squash and the mushrooms. You’re done with this step when the bottom of the pan starts looking almost dry and you have to shake the pan more often to keep things from burning. Feel free to add a little more evoo as necessary. At this point season lightly with salt and more heavily with pepper (you want to season as you go rather than all at the end, but since you’ll be reducing this dish even more too much salt at this stage would make it crazy-salty at the end).

4) Once the liquid is gone deglaze the pan with about a half-cup of your white wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all that good brown stuff up. Add the rest of the wine, adjusting the amount to just cover all your vegetables. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer until the white wine is almost completely gone.

5) Once the wine is just about gone pour the heavy cream over the vegetables, and turn the heat down to low. Simmer veg and cream until the cream is thick and the liquid is almost, but not quite, gone. Be sure to not boil the cream- keep it on low. If the heat is too high the cream will separate.

6) Remove the thyme bunch. Season to taste with salt, nutmeg and black pepper.

Sweating onions, garlic and fennel. Photo copyright 2012 by Zachary D. Lyons.

Eat this piled on a thick slice of brown toast with a poached egg on top and some fromage blanc, if you’re feeling decadent. Or put it on little toast rounds and grate some Parmesan or pecorino on top. Or you could just eat it with a spoon, as I certainly have done. Enjoy!

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