Oeufs Cocotte with Wild Foraged Mushrooms
There is one thing I know I can rely on each year that will assuredly manage to lift my spirits in wet weather: mushroom hunting season! In France, where I live, cool rains bring out masses of unlikely amateurs, young and old alike, who trudge deep into the forest in search of not-always-so-buried treasures. Even the grumpy old police captain who hangs around my favourite local brasserie turned up the other week sporting an ear-to-ear grin as he presented multiple wicker baskets filled to the brim with cèpes he had snagged earlier that morning. My polite inquiry as to where he had been out picking, quickly saw the wide smile vanish from his lips as he craftily went about changing the subject.
Here, this popular autumn pastime isn't limited only to professionals: Village pharmacists are required by law to be capable of identifying mushroom varieties, which sure makes it a heck of a lot easier to feel confident cooking up what you forage. Still, it is incredibly important that you learn how to properly identify mushrooms before you head out in search of dinner. If you're a first-timer, make sure to go with someone who is experienced and only eat fungi you are able to identify 100 per cent positively. An even easier option, for those not up to the task, is to head to your local market to buy them directly from an experienced forager who has done all the learning (and work) for you.
My version of the traditional French recipe for oeufs cocotte is the perfect vehicle for any wild mushrooms you are able to get your hands on. Not to be mistaken for shirred eggs, these babies are individually cooked in a bain marie while swimming in rich and delicious nutmeg scented cream baths. Make sure to serve alongside copious amounts of freshly toast crusty bread for dipping. This recipe can easily be evolved to suit just about anything savoury you happen to have on hand, but of course, I prefer wild mushrooms. After all, it is the season!
Link to recipe here.