Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Savory morel and goat cheese custards with wild ramp vinaigrette


I have been becoming increasingly interested in wild/foraged foods, and mushrooms in particular. Recently, I've read two fascinating books that combine natural history, cooking, and culture in regards to mushrooms: Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms and Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares: The Love, Lore, and Mystic of Mushrooms. I learned a lot from both of these books as well as my husband, who is an amateur forager. So when I saw that Marx Foods was holding their 5th Annual Morel Recipe Challenge: Baked Edition, I knew I wanted to participate (watch for a vote coming soon)! Morels are one of the most cherished edible mushrooms in North America. They are buttery and earthy, but also have a very fleeting season. 

 Voting is now live! Please visit this link to vote for my recipe! Thank you!


I received a sample package of dried morel mushrooms for the recipe contest. Their aroma was wonderful and they rehydrate easily. I was going back and forth on what to make with the morels, but I knew I wanted to really highlight their earthiness and not overpower them with too many other flavors -- plus the recipe needed to be baked in the oven. I decided on making a custard. While custards are generally thought of as dessert, this one is very savory. This time of year, the ramps are also emerging, so I wanted to incorporate those into my recipe -- their greens made a perfect vinaigrette to cut through all the creaminess of the custard. I used goat cheese and grass-fed cow milk in the custard to really highlight and focus on the earthiness of the mushrooms and spring in general. 

The recipe will serve 2-4 people. I made two custards in 6-oz. ramekins. You can eat one per person, or even share one. They are good as a starter to a meal or as part of a weekend brunch. Serve them with some toasted crusty bread and a salad of spring greens, if desired.  These are a decadent treat full of spring flavors.


Savory morel and goat cheese custards with wild ramp vinaigrette
for the custards:
4 (about 2 oz.) dried morel mushrooms, rehydrated (reserve liquid)
4 ramps, whites thinly sliced and greens reserved
1 pat of butter, plus more for greasing
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4-oz goat cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk
2 eggs yolks

for the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup roughly chopped ramp greens
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
pinch of sea salt  

Slice the rehydrated mushrooms into about 1/2-inch rings. Warm a pat of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the mushrooms and ramp whites. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the are softened and lightly golden. Stir in the thyme and season with a little salt and pepper. Then deglaze the pan with about 2-3 tablespoons of the reserved soaking liquid. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly butter your ramekins. In a food processor, blend the goat cheese, milk, egg yolks, and a pinch of sea salt until smooth, about 30 seconds. 

Arrange half the morel and ramp mixture on the bottom of each ramekin. Pour half of the custard mixture on top of each. Lightly tap the ramekins on the counter to remove any air bubbles.

Place the ramekins in a baking dish and fill the dish about half way with warm water. Cover with foil. Bake until cooked through (so they no longer jiggle) about 18-20 minutes. 

Let cool completely.

Puree the vinaigrette ingredients in the food processor until well-combined.

When the custards are cool, gently run a knife along the edges and place a plate on top of the ramekin. Carefully flip it over to pop it out upside down onto the plate. Drizzle with a little vinaigrette are serve. 

    
Note: While Marx Foods provided me with the morels, all opinions expressed are my own. 

What was I cooking one year ago?: peanut chocolate chip cookies
Two years ago?: spaghetti with fennel, artichokes, arugula, and olives 
Three?: egg tarts with ramps and wild mushrooms  

29 comments:

  1. Wow, this looks delicious, all my favorite spring ingredients, ramps, morels, goat's cheese...good luck, hope you win!

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  2. Wow, this custard looks terrific. I haven't had ramps since I left Tennessee years ago. I remember going to the festival and seeing all the ways people would use them.

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  3. such a creative dish!! good luck with the contest, I really hope you win!

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  4. Dear Amy, This sounds wonderful. I don't know if I would want to share mine!
    Have a beautiful day. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    p.s. Best of luck with the contest.

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  5. Wow, this is so pretty, almost too pretty to eat! ...Just kidding. Nothing is too pretty to eat :)

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  6. Jeez, you are one lucky girl. Ramps! Morels! Your spring sounds great! And I bet it tastes even better.

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  7. These are so pretty, what a unique recipe you have here!!

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  8. These are beautiful morels.
    I love the recipe Amy, it has wonderful ingredients and is very creative!

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  9. This is something new to me... it sure sound and look delicious!

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  10. Ooh, morels and goat cheese...yum!

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  11. Ooh, I love morels and goat cheese - I bet these are just amazing!

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  12. Hi Amy! How gorgeous! There is nothing like wild mushrooms. I wish I had easier access to them! This sounds like heaven. Thank you for sharing!

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  13. oh man, what an amazing savory custard!!

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  14. Hi Amy, something new to me but it look appetizing. I love your beautiful plate, look so elegant.

    Have a nice week ahead.

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  15. I've never even HAD morels, but they look so good!

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  16. I can't believe my good timing... i just bought a package of dried morels. The custards sound great.

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  17. What a pretty dish for spring! I love morels, and all of these flavors sound great together.

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  18. Morellllllllies:( :( :( I grew up hunting them with my parents every spring with a fierce and devout passion. They practically defined my childhood. Now up here where I live, I can forage for many mushrooms, but I have yet to find a single morel. It is actually one of the things I dislike most about my current location. How I would love to go south in spring, where they grow to monstrous proportions!

    Also, ramps. Man. They're not all that common here either. I lose at spring foraging.

    This dish sounds delicious though - enjoy it for me:)

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  19. Whoa!! Awesome recipe! This custard has all the best of spring in it!

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  20. oh this is just too cute! what a pretty meal!

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  21. What gorgeous custards! I love that you used goat cheese! Good luck in the contest!

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  22. All of those flavours sound incredible. What a great mix. I haven't made a savoury custard before but it looks awesome!

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  23. This dish looks delicious,I didn't even know this type of dish existed! Good luck in your competition! xx

    http://thiswomansstyle.com/

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  24. this is so funky looking and so innovative as well! love your work xx

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  25. I can remember the first time I tasted Morel mushrooms. Wow! I love your savoury custards. I don't love the suggestion to share though - all mine! :)

    The best of luck in the competition.

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  26. Oh Amy, your savory custard looks delicious, love the morel and the goat cheese in it...
    Have a lovely week :)

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  27. What a beautiful looking recipe!! I wanted to drop by and wish you the best of luck. It's an honor to be competing with you and everyone else in this challenge.
    Laurrie @ Baked Lava

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  28. What a wonderful recipe! Goat cheese is my very favorite. Good luck in the recipe contest--what a fun, friendly competition. :)

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