Normally, this dish would be served in a classic French restaurant as a luncheon entree, but it is equally as good for a dinner if you’ve also indulged earlier in the day.

By making everything from scratch (especially the Bechamel) and not scrimping on the oil and butter you are guaranteed mouth-watering explosion of both savoury and sweet.

Hart proferred this lunch to the French delegates in “New York Fried, Copyright 2019, Sunao Publishing”.

INGREDIENTS (to serve 6)

For Bechamel:

1 and 1/2 cups milk, preferably whole milk
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
generous pinches of kosher salt
scant 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
generous grinding of freshly ground black pepper

For Mushrooms

1/3 cup butter, divided
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb mixed mushrooms such as maitake, enoki, oyster, king, and cremini, torn or sliced

For Sandwiches

6 croissants, sliced in halt
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 and 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere

For Salad

3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey, preferably wildflower or lavender
generous pinch of salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
12 cups escarole or other bitter salad greens like frisee
6 fresh thyme sprigs
18 gherkins

METHOD

  1. Prepare bechamel. Heat milk in a small saucepan set over medium heat until warm. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, melt butter until bubbling. When bubbling, stir in flour. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue whisking until smooth and thickened, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, to prepare mushrooms, add 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil to a large frying pan. Set over medium-high heat. When bubbling, add half of the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat. Cook, stirring often until lightly golden and softened about 7 minutes. Remove to a plate. Repeat with remaining butter, oil, and mushrooms.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  4. Assemble sandwiches on a large parchment-lined baking pan. Spread Dijon mustard on tops of croissants. Cover bottoms with a layer of bechamel. Place a layer of mushrooms on top of the bechamel and then layer again with bechamel. Place tops on and cover with a thin layer of bechamel and then sprinkle the gruyere over top.
  5. Bake in centre of preheated oven until hot and cheese is melted (7-10 minutes)
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the salad. Whisk vinegar with shallot, mustard, honey and salt in a large bowl. Pouring in a very thin steady stream, slowly whisk in oil. Add greens. Toss to coat.
  7. Pull leaves from thyme sprigs and sprinkle warm sandwiches with thyme leaves. Serve with gherkins and the prepared salad.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

 

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