Mushrooms have long been the subject of fascination, fear, and to avid cooks, gastronomic delight. For centuries, they have been steeped in myth and fairy-lore, hunted by pigs for vast sums, touted as medicinal miracles, and sought for their psychedelic pleasures. For centuries, only China’s royalty were permitted to consume Reishi, known as the mushroom of immortality, or suffer death.
The mushroom’s odd appearance, and to the average person, their moderately distasteful growing environment (damp and decaying matter) only seems to add to their charisma. The modern and ever-pervasive trend of eating organic, local, and wild foods has brought a resurgence to mushroom enthusiasm— placing the little white buttons firmly on the map.
Attend a farmers market in any city across the county and you’d be hard pressed not to find a multitude of varietals. It’s even quite common to purchase a decaying log on which to grow your own personal supply. A book about mushrooms, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures, recently made the NY Times Bestseller list.
It is safe to say that mushrooms are having their moment— and that moment may be lasting. Beyond all their hype, they really are miraculous powerhouses of nutrition, resilience, and tasty to boot. A perfect way to start your day.
14 oz cremini or white mushrooms
2 Tbs butter
1 ¾ cup creme fraiche
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
¾ cup fresh tarragon, chopped
2 slices of hearty, high quality bread, diced small
3 ¼ oz Emmenthal Cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Chop the mushrooms into quarters and sauté in the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once they are nicely browned, add the creme fraiche, mustard, and tarragon and bring the mixture to a boil for several seconds to thicken.
Fill four small pyrex baking dishes with equal parts bread and cheese, and pour the mushroom mixture on top. Place to rest in the refrigerator for an hour to allow the bread to absorb the cream. Remove from the fridge, and crack an egg over the top of each mixture. Steam in a steamer (or place the dishes in a pot with a half-inch of water in the bottom) for ten minutes or until the egg white is set. The yolk should remain loose. Season with salt and pepper and serve.