Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wild Mushroom Ragout

Ah wild mushrooms, the quintessential spring ingredient, worth their weight in gold, literally! I wish I could afford to eat these exotic treats more often, but alas, on a regular basis they are not in my budget. For a special occasion, yes, I will indulge.

A few weeks ago we had company for dinner, company I wanted to impress so I pulled out all the stops, crab salad with steamed asparagus tips, grilled sirloin with tarragon butter, truffled mashed potatoes, wild mushroom ragout, and passion fruit tarts drizzled with blood orange sauce. It was an over the top menu and a wonderful meal. The wild mushroom ragout was the center piece! Visually stunning and a divine addition! The woody, earthy flavors of the mushrooms are intensified by being sautéed with fresh herbs and garlic. The recipe is adapted from the girl and the fig, my new favorite cookbook! Modifications included cutting way back on the oil and butter and meat fat called for in the original recipe and mixing up the assortment of mushrooms and herbs.

Wild Mushroom Ragout

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced pancetta
4 cups assorted wild mushrooms (I used Morels, Oyster, Chanterelles and Shiitake)
1 tablespoon each fresh chopped thyme, sage, parsley and tarragon
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon butter

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet and sauté the pancetta over low heat until crisp and golden brown. Add the mushrooms, herbs and garlic, cook until tender and golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the ban with the wine and reduce the liquid by half. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.