Monday, 11 May 2009

Cèpe de Bordeaux

Cèpes are edible mushrooms from the Boletus family (more commonly known as porcini) and are a favourite ingredient in French gastronomy. The Cèpes de Bordeaux get their name from the old Gascon word cep which means trunk (due to its fat stalk) and from Bordeaux as they cluster in the wooded areas there and were shipped from the port there. The physician of Henry IV said in 1606 that the Gascons delighted in their Cèpes and they were traded between Bordeaux and Saint-Domingue in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the chef of the Grand Café Anglais in Paris (and author of "Treaty of Bordelaise Cuisine), Alcide Bonton, included Cèpes in the dishes of the day and their reputation was assured.

Cèpe de Bordeaux have caps ranging from brown to fawn and when the mushroom is young, the cap is smooth, dry and round like a champagne cork. They taste of hazelnuts and are slightly meaty, with a smooth, creamy texture. They can be eaten raw, canned or dried but are often eaten in soups, omelettes and risottos, as accompaniments to steaks or ground into pasta.

Cèpes a la Bordelaise

4 tbsp butter
2 tsp lemon juice
1 lb cèpes
3tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp shallots
½ tsp minced garlic
pinch salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Melt the butter with the lemon juice in a frying pan. Add the cèpes, cover, and cook, for 5 mins. Add the olive oil, increase the heat, and cook, stirring, for 2 mins. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 3 mins. Remove from the heat , sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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