The Pays Gex, with it’s cool, wet climate, is an amazing place for wild mushrooms. In both French and Swiss foodways foraged mushrooms from the Alps and the Jura such as chanterelles (girolles), black chanterelles (trumpets du mort), porcinis (cepes), and hedgehog mushrooms are a central parts of autumn’s seasonal cuisine. Chanterelles start appearing in the markets in September and then over the course of October and November additional varieties start showing up. .
To take advantage of this seasonal treat, I made a savoury tart with a chanterelle and gruyere filling that we paired with a salad and a light red wine. To make the tart you will need:
about 1 pound chanterelle mushrooms
1 yellow onion
1 puff pastry dough
white wine or sherry (cooking)
aged gruyere cheese
1 clove garlic
pinch of nutmeg
To begin, preheat your oven to about 150 (c), look over your chanterelles and clean dirt off with a dry paper towel, you never want to wash wild mushrooms in water or they will get slimy when you cook them. After you’ve cleaned off as much dirt as possible (don’t worry about getting them perfect) roughly chop.
Put the chantrelles in a non-reactive (not cast iron) sauce pan over high heat with salt and stir regularly. Don;t worry about sticking and browned bits on the pan. After a couple of minutes, the mushrooms should start to “sweat” and release liquid. Keep cooking them until they are a nice brown color and seem to have sweated out most of their liquid (which will probably evaporate). At this point, transfer the cooked mushrooms into a bowl and deglaze the pan with a generous splash of white wine. Scrape off all of the browned bits into the liquid and pour it into another bowl. Set both aside.
Roughly chop and saute your onion with some butter until starting to brown, then splash in cooking wine to deglaze pan and even out browning.
Set aside onions, mushrooms, and liquid.
Put your pastry crust in to pre-bake in a tarte pan for about 15 minutes (it should be just starting to brown when you pull it out).
Make bechamel sauce:
Measure out 2 cups of milk into a small sauce pan then simmer gently with cloves, garlic, nutmeg and bay leaf (stirring regularly) for 15 minutes.
In a bigger sauce pan combine 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp flour, whisking until combined and starting to sizzle and become fragrant (but not brown). Slowly whisk in milk and continue whisking as sauce thickens. Add browning liquid from mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. The sauce should be thick but not pasty.
Grate as much gruyere as you want on your tarte
Assemble all of your ingredients and make your tarte.
begin by spreading a generous layer of bechamel in the tarte (you will have leftover sauce and that’s ok because it will be delicious on pasta, in soup, etc.) Next layer on the caramelized onions and cooked chanterelles, then sprinkle with fresh sage. Top with grated gruyere and garnish with sage leaves. Return tarte to oven and bake until cheese is melted and bechamel is bubbling (about 25 minutes). Your tarte should look something like this: