MOREL MUSHROOMS ON TOAST
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cognac
1 tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup crème fraÎche
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound morel mushrooms
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, leaves
2 teaspoons chervil
3 cloves, garlic, minced
12 slices French bread
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Sauté the shallot pieces in butter until they are wilted and on the verge of browning. Add the cognac and cook another 30 seconds. Off the heat, stir in the vinegar and lemon juice. Fold in the crème fraÎche and season with salt and pepper.
Trim the stems from the morels. If gritty, submerge them briefly in cold water. Drain and half. Cut into thin strips. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, herbs and garlic pieces in a casserole. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, stir in the shallot mixture and return to the oven for 3-4 minutes. Out of the oven, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Brush the bread slices with the remaining olive oil. Grill or broil to toast. Top with the morel mixture. Serve as an hors d'oeuvres or with a salad for lunch.
Adapted from Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Café Cookbook, (Harper Collins, 1999)