A savory, pressed cake of sliced puffball mushrooms, squash, goat cheese and herbs.
Course: Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: Puffball mushroom, Squash
Squash and puffballs
1lbcooked puffball slices *see note
1medium sized butternut squash
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
3/4cup(6oz) soft fresh goat chevre, crumbled If you love goat cheese, you can add more.
1.5tablespoonschopped fresh thyme
Splash of dry white wine
¼cupall purpose flour
Fresh grated nutmegto taste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
½cuptoasted panko breadcrumbs
½stick unsalted butter
Melt the butter and flour in a small sauce pot until foaming, whisking occasionally. Add a splash of white wine and the salt and cook for 1 minute, then add the milk, ½ cup at a time, whisking constantly between additions to prevent lumps until it’s incorporated.
When all the milk is added, the mixture should be thick and bubbling. Remove it from the heat and cover to prevent it forming a skin, season to taste with fresh grated nutmeg and reserve until needed.
Peel the squash (you will want a Kuhn Rikon peeler for this), then cut the seedless part in half the long way and slice on a mandoline into 1/8th thick half moons.
Cut the puffball into 1 inch slices, then grill on both sides on a hot griddle brushed with butter, seasoning them lightly with salt and pepper as they cook on both sides. Set the puffballs aside on a tray, laying each slice on top of one another, until cooled. When cool, press the puffball slices firmly between a layer or two of paper towels to help remove water. Reserve the puffballs until needed.
Building the gratin
Spread the bottom of a spring form pan with ¼ cup of the bechamel, then put down a layer of squash. Season the squash lightly with salt, some of the chevre, and fresh thyme.
Next, put on a layer of cooked puffball slices, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper, and pressing it down firmly, then repeat with the chevre, thyme, and bechamel.
Go easy on the salt, but don’t forget it. Repeat this process two more times, so that you have two layers of squash and puffball, then, finally top with a layer of squash, spread it with bechamel, and bake at 350 F for 1 hour. Allow the torte to cool, then put a flat plate on it, top with a weight, and refrigerate overnight to help it set and compress it.
To portion, unhinge the outer ring of the spring form pan, then, using a sharp chefs knife, cut the torte into wedges. Cover the top of the sliced, but still whole torte with breadcrumbs, top with thin slices of cold butter all over, then bake for 30 minutes at 350 F, or until hot throughout. To brown the crumbs, turn the broiler on for the last few minutes, keeping the torte on the bottom of the oven, until the top is nicely browned. Serve.