When I was working for a chef from Milan in St. Paul, we had a popular appetizer that was a mixture of cultivated mushrooms cooked in cream, and finished with parsley, parmesan, and then poured into small cases of golden brown puff pastry. ‘The restaurant soon closed after I left to work for the former personal chef to the princess of Monaco, but I never forgot the mushrooms in puff pastry. I may revisit the puff pastry theme with mushrooms again in a “Vol Au Vent” form sometime, but for now, this version will due.
Often I find inspiration for new dishes through remembering things I was taught in the past or through perusing my library of archaic culinary literature. I thought it would be fun to make something like the dish we used to serve, but I was fresh out of puff pastry, I did have croissants though, and homemade ones at that. So I gently carved the insides out with a grapefruit spoon, and then proceeded to make a little ragout of morels, ramps, and nettles.
This is a great way to use older croissants or another pastry that is just hanging out in your pantry or fridge. Using a fresh croissant would be very difficult here as they are delicate. Much better to use a slightly stale or day old croissant since it will hold up better, toast better, and retain the sauce.
Croissant Stuffed With Morels, Ramps, And Nettles
- 4 croissants preferably a day or two old
- 8 oz morels whole or sliced in half
- 4 0 z nettles blanched in boiling salted water shocked in a cold water bath, and wrung/squeezed dry
- 1 cup cup chicken stock or water/vegetable stock if you prefer
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots or ramps
- With a sharp knife or bread knife, slice the top 1/3 off of each croissant, make sure that the bottom is at least 1in deep , as you are going to hollow it out. Gently scrape away the inside of the croissant with a spoon, making sure not to break the edges or the sauce will come out.Toast the croissants in a 350 oven for about 8 minutes or until they are slightly crisp, but not overly crunchy or hard.
- Saute the shallots or ramps in a tsp of oil or butter until they are translucent, about 1 minute. Add the morels, a 1/4 tsp of salt and cook for a few minutes. When the morel liquid has evaporated, add the wine and reduce until the pan is almost dry. Add the stock and cook until this is reduced by half, then add the cold diced butter and continue heating, whisking constantly until the sauce is thickened slightly and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the chopped nettles just to heat them through.
- Finish by spooning each bottom of a croissant full of equal portions of the morels and nettles, drizzle as much sauce as possible on top of the morels in each croissant, then serve immediately.