Cooking Our Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home
‘Tis the season of top ten lists. Just a few days ago, Gothamist had recently been thinking about the top ten restaurants dishes we’ve had this year.
That same night, we had a new entry into the top 5.
Porcupine has yet to make the review rounds, so it’s still possible to walk in pretty easily. As Gothamist was utterly blown away by every course we had, we doubt this will last long. In fact, we noted at least three recipes that Gothamist wanted to make for this post.
One of these excellent dishes is chestnut crepes with wild mushrooms steamed in parchment paper. The parchment paper is cut open at the table to reveal a mix of mushrooms steamed in their own juices. The crepes are folded on the side, allowing you to make your own wrap. The combination was fantastic – the soft pillowy crepes were an ideal vehicle for the natural, earthy mushrooms.
Gothamist likes our mushrooms with a roasted char, bringing out even more of their deep earthy flavor. Other enhancements for this dish include adding more of the great chestnuts - in this case a dense, hearty chestnut puree that can be slathered onto the crepes along with the mushrooms. Finally, a little sprinkle of nutmeg and thyme into the crepe batter and we have another Gothamist Recipe, thanks to Porcupine.
Mushroom, Thyme and Nutmeg Crepes
chanterelles, shitakes, criminis and chestnut puree
This is a relatively easy dish to make. The mushrooms and the chestnut puree can be made hours in advance and reheated before serving. The crepes can also be made ahead and gently reheated in the oven as well. Serve this family style, allowing your guests to make their own. You can even add more ingredients to your crepe platter to make this into an even bigger meal.
The only questions here are what kind of mushrooms to buy and whether or not to roast your own chestnuts. If you have the time, roast your own chestnuts. That being said, we’ve had good experiences with the imported vacuum packed chestnuts and don’t hesitate to recommend them. As for the ‘shrooms, we’d go for a mix…less is not more for this dish.
Ingredient Shopping List
Recipe serves two people. Just double for four.
1/4 lb chanterelle mushrooms
1/4 lb crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
1/4 lb shitake mushrooms
1 bunch thyme
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 quart whole milk
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 whole or ground jar of nutmeg
2 cloves garlic
1 jar of roasted chestnuts
Estimated cost of ingredients: $24 at Fairway
Food processor or blender
Non stick pan
Shopping for the Ingredients
You can get quality mushrooms in virtually every decent market these days, though for our money Garden of Eden stores have the largest and best variety in the city.
The vaccuum packed chestnuts are usually imported from France or Italy. They are at Fairway and Citarella.
Make the Crepe Batter
This batter will make about 6 thin crepes.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small pot.
Combine 3/4 cup all purpose flour and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, 3/4 cup whole milk, 3 cracked eggs, one tablespoon of rough chopped thyme leaves, two pinches of grated nutmeg and whisk until blended. Add the liquid mixture a little at a time to the dry mixture, whisking to dissolve any lumps. Whisk until smooth. Set aside. If placing in fridge until future use, note that it will thicken and reduce yield. Add a bit more milk and whisk before reusing.
Make the Mushrooms
Wipe down the mushrooms with a moist paper towel. Slice the criminis into thin whole slices. Slice the chanterelles in half. Slice the shitakes in half. Remove 6 springs worth of leaves from thyme stems. Lastly, finely chop two cloves of garlic.
Place a pan onto low heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and one glug of olive oil to the pan. When melted, add all of the mushrooms to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the thyme leaves. It is important not to touch of flip the mushrooms for about 5 minutes so they get a nice brown sear. Add the garlic anf flip the mushrooms. Re-season with salt and pepper. After two minutes, add a squueze of lemon juice. A minute later, add ¼ cup milk to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes and re-season with salt and pepper.
Finally, add one more small pat of butter and 1/8 cup of water to deglaze the pan. Cook for two more minutes and set aside.
(Gothamist added a small glug of truffle oil to this at the end– definitely worth the $8 bottle and there will be plenty to use for the next month).
Make the Chestnut Puree
Warm ½ cup milk in a small pot. Drain and add the entire can or ½ jar of chestnuts to the milk. After two minutes, or until the chestnuts are warm, add to the food processor or blender. Add one tablespoon butter, and one pinch of the thyme leaves. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth and set aside. Taste and season.
Make the Crepes
Place a small pat of butter into a small, 6-inch nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat. When the pan is hot, remove it from the heat and pour in 1/4 cup of the batter, if not a bit less. The batter should barely cover the bottom, as you want these crepes to be thin.
Swirl the pan around to spread the batter evenly over the bottom. Return the pan to the heat and cook until lightly golden, 30 to 40 seconds. Turn the crepe over and cook the second side for about 15 seconds. Remove from the pan. Repeat the procedure until all of the batter is used, stacking the crepes between a layer of waxed paper to prevent them from sticking together. Set the crepes aside.
Warm and Serve
Place the puree, mushrooms and crepes in a 250 degree oven for a few minutes before serving. Mound the mushrooms and puree into separate bowls, fold the crepes onto a large plate and serve.