This week’s recipe is a tribute to spring by Boston-based seafood expert, Chef Jeremy Sewall, who is sharing with us a dish from his James Beard Award-nominated The New England Kitchen, with co-author Erin Byers Murray. In a way, I think it might be a bit of a lost opportunity to not have a seafood recipe from Jeremy, like the amazing-looking Lobster BLT from his book, but on the other hand, I was so attracted by his Mushroom Ragout with Farm Eggs and Toast, I couldn’t resist! This dish is something that you can make with whatever mushrooms you have on hand, as opposed to finding a specific type of fish if this were a seafood dish. This would be a great brunch or lunch dish, and I can’t wait to make it one weekend soon. If you’re lucky enough to be near Brooklyn this weekend, you can see Jeremy at the Food Book Fair! —Kristina
About Jeremy: Jeremy Sewall graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1992, and later worked in kitchens all over the world before moving back to the United States where he garnered recognition from the James Beard Foundation, the New York Times, Esquire, Gourmet and the Boston Globe, among others. In 2006 he opened Lineage in Brookline, MA, and in Boston he later opened Island Creek Oyster Bar, Fort Point Channel, and Row 34 with Garrett Harker and Skip Bennett. Through his restaurants, Jeremy is dedicated to celebrating the diversity of New England seafood and the passion of the people who bring it to us.
Photography by Michael Harlan Turkell
The appearance of morels is one sign that spring has arrived in New England. Morels are the perfect example of what a wild mushroom should taste like. There’s a striking combination of both earthy and nutty flavors, and the honeycomb texture is unlike anything else. This simple dish can be made with most any mushroom, but I love the combination of morels and peas especially. Be sure to use farm-raised eggs rather than ones that are mass-produced — you’ll literally see the difference in the rich, yellow yolk.
-4 slices rustic bread
-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
-3 tablespoons canola oil
-8 ounces morel mushrooms, stems removed, washed, and cut in half
-4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, washed, caps cut into quarters
-1 large shallot, finely diced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter
-2 cups mushroom stock
-1/2 cup shelled English peas, blanched
-2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
-4 large farm-raised eggs
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
1. Brush the bread with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toast in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside at room temperature.
2. In a large sauté pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the morel and shiitake mushrooms and sauté until they begin to color lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium; stir in the shallot, garlic, and butter. Cook until the butter is melted and the garlic is lightly toasted, another minute or two. Remove from the heat and carefully pour off any excess fat from the pan. Add the mushroom broth and return to the heat. Let simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by almost half, about 8 minutes. Add the peas and season with the sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper. Keep warm.
3. Bring 1 quart salted water to a simmer and carefully break the eggs into the water. Poach for 2 minutes. The whites should be set, but the yolks will still be quite runny. While the eggs are poaching, place a piece of toast in each of four shallow bowls. Spoon the mushroom ragout over the top of the toast. With a slotted spoon, carefully spoon the eggs out of the water and place on top of the mushrooms. Serve warm.
Why Jeremy loves this recipe: Obviously, I love cooking seafood and it is what most people associate me with, but there are so many other items that present themselves seasonally that I am thrilled to work with, especially at the beginning of spring. After spending all winter with hearty root vegetables, the ability to get my hands on ingredients like English peas and morels is exciting, and it’s great to let something like that have the spotlight for a change.