Serves 6 as a main course
8 as a side
Roasting mushrooms to concentrate their flavour and then adding a few flame cooked ones gives this vegetarian gratin wonderful complexity. This is a good recipe to use for distinctively shaped and flavoured mushrooms like chanterelles or oyster mushrooms as they will retain many of their unique characteristics, but any variety will work excellently.
Ingredients: 2 pounds assorted mushrooms such as cremini, oyster, chanterelle or white button 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the baking dish 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 4 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese, divided 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
Method: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Halve or thickly slice mushrooms that are larger than about 1 1/2 inches across; leave the rest whole. Set 6 whole mushrooms aside. Place remaining mushrooms on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Roast until very soft and browned, about 35 minutes. Meanwhile, skewer reserved mushrooms on 2 metal skewers. Hold the ends of the skewers with oven mitts and place mushrooms over an open flame (such as a gas burner or outdoor grill on high setting) and cook, turning frequently, until charred all over, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove mushrooms from the skewer and place on a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop. Oil a 1 1/2-quart gratin dish or 8-inch-square baking dish. In a large bowl, stir together half-and-half, half of the cheese, pepper, nutmeg and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in roasted mushrooms and charred mushrooms. Pour mixture into a gratin dish and press down gently with the back of a spoon to level. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, parsley and bread crumbs. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F; bake gratin until top is well-browned and edges are bubbling, about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.