Fumet de Sparassis
We picked up some locally gathered sparassis wild mushrooms at the market, sometimes known as coral mushrooms or cauliflower mushrooms. When I got home and I cleaned and tossed some in a hot pan to see where their flavor was (it can vary widely depending on their maturity), I knew immediately the best thing to do with them. These will make a wonderful fumet de champignons, or a mushroom broth. This I can freeze, generally use in cooking, and also set any number of things afloat in it. Burgundy escargots (in a teacup, I can see it now), seared scallops with some fresh pepper shavings (coming to the table an assiette creuse), or ravioli that I have stuffed with anything from lobster or crab to herb seasoned white cheese (with curled shavings of spring onion and chervil, brought out in square white bowls on a tray). I can also add some ceps and a little sage to the bouquet, if I want to use it for a sauce.
Fumet de Sparassis
1/2 pound of sparassis or cauliflour mushrooms
an ounce or two of cep mushrooms (optional)
1 teaspoon of duck fat or butter
1 liter of light poultry stock or water
1 mild bouquet (parsley, chervil and chives, sage if you are using the ceps)
1/2 teaspoon of coriander seeds
salt and pepper (when serving)
Equipment: A non stick pan
About subsitutions: you can use just about any wild mushroom with this recipe. You may choose to add some celery or thyme to your bouquet if you are using a more flavorful mushroom. The more flavorful mushroom you use, the more aromatic your bouquet can be.
Clean the sparassis mushrooms well in several rinses of water (an example of how to do this can be found in this recipe). The most important thing is to remove the dirt and debris, so break the puff and carefully clean it. Cut out the areas at the base where the mushroom has grown around dirt and debris. Once they are clean, press them dry in a clean kitchen linen. Trim and wipe off the cep mushrooms (an example of how to do this is here). Heat the teaspoon of fat over high heat and throw the mushrooms in. When you have evaporated completely the moisture they initially release, turn the heat to medium and add the minced shallot and the mild bouquet. Stir for a few minutes, and then top this with light poultry stock or water, and the coriander seeds. Lower the heat this time to low and simmer at barely a murmer for 20 minutes. At the end of that time, remove the pan from the heat, and let cool without removing the contents. Strain off the solid contents and filter the cool broth into a nice clean jar for later use. Season before serving, when it is hot.