Wild Mushroom and Tomato Casserole
SERVES 8 to 10
This warm-weather, one-pot meal is surprisingly light when fresh from the oven. An earthenware casserole is best because the slow radiant heat creates a crust along the edges that is one of the tastiest parts of the dish. Best eaten when just made, this dish will reheat well in a microwave oven. Kids love it.
- 1 ½ oz. mixture dried wild mushrooms such as oyster mushrooms and porcini
- 1 qt. boiling water
- 2 large onions (1 ½ lb.), sliced
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter or olive oil
- 3 Tbs. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbs. flour
- About 1 ½ lb. stale, crusty country- style bread, preferably sourdough, cut into thick slices
- 3 cups (1 ½ lb.) chopped tomatoes
- 10 oz. coarsely grated Gruyère-style cheese
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh sage
- ½ cup grated sapsago or Parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp. caraway seeds, optional
- Place mushrooms in large heatproof container, and add boiling water. Cover, and infuse 1 to 2 hours, or until mushrooms are tender. Strain infusion, and reserve infusion liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms, and set aside in large bowl.
- Place onions, butter and sugar in large skillet, cover and sweat over medium heat 10 minutes, or until onions are soft and beginning to caramelize on bottoms. Add salt, and stir in flour to thicken. Place onions in bowl, and deglaze skillet with about 1 cup mushroom infusion, whisking well. Pour deglazing liquid into mushroom infusion.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Spray 2-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray.
- Layer bread in casserole. Chop any remaining bread into small irregular pieces, and set aside. Combine mushrooms and tomatoes, and cover bread layer with mixture. Combine Gruyère cheese and sage, and scatter evenly over mushroom-tomato mixture. Cover with chopped bread. Spread onions over bread, and add mushroom infusion. Pat smooth with back of wooden spoon. Sprinkle sapsago cheese and caraway seeds, if using, over top.
- Bake uncovered 45 to 55 minutes, or until set and crispy on top. Serve hot directly from oven.
The mushrooms, onions and cheeses pair well with earthy red varieties such as Pinot Noir and Syrah/Shiraz. The tomatoes and cheeses pair with Red Zinfandel. And a lighter style Cabernet will pick up on the mushrooms, sage and caraway. Experiment!