Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Bocconcini with mushroom soymilk reduction sauce
You will get to (sort of) see the Ligurian herb stuffing after all, albeit in a not too great photograph. I had some of the filling and some of the crepe batter left over from the other night, and was going to quietly make it into lunch, but then I found a recipe for a similar filling online to point to, and wanted to try a mushroom sauce based (very loosely) on this one. Stuffed crepes are a great company dish, but now that I've tried them both ways, in my opinion they're more impressive and less risky appearance-wise as baked crepes than bocconcini, whatever sauce you use. I would encourage the timid not to be afraid of crepes. They really are extremely easy (far easier than stuffing cooked pasta tubes), plus you can stand and cook them while you're preparing the rest of the meal.
In Nonna's Italian Kitchen, Bryanna Clark Grogan remarks that "Filled crepes that are cut into short lengths and baked are called bocconcini, which means 'little mouthfuls.'" No more details are given, so what I did is rolled the filling into the crepes, cut the filled crepes into 1-inch lengths, and arranged them, cut side up, in a small casserole, which I then smothered in mushroom sauce and baked for about 20 minutes.
Recipes for filling and for crepes are on Bryanna's website, so I'll direct you straight there and not reproduce them here. I made the crepes from Vegan Brunch, but they're pretty similar to Bryanna's (and the batter lasted two days in the fridge no problem).
The mushroom sauce intrigued me because there's no flour added to thicken it; it's a milk (or in my case soy milk) reduction. In the end I reduced it too much, so learn from my mistakes and watch it. The reduction should be fairly liquid if you're planning to pour and bake. The Alton Brown recipe was meant to be layered into a crepe cake and not re-cooked, so his version is thicker.
Mushroom soymilk reduction sauce
adapted from Alton Brown
makes about 1 cup
whole recipe serves 2
1/2 cup diced yellow onions
1 1/2 tbsp Earth Balance
5-6 mushrooms (I used cremini), half thinly sliced, half finely diced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
2 tbsp almonzano, nutritional yeast, or other shredded sharp vegan cheese or cheese sauce
4 small savory crepes (1/4 cup crepe batter to each)
1 cup spinach-ricotta filling
1 green onion, finely chopped
In a large sauté pan, melt the Earth Balance and sweat the onion. Add all the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are soft. Add the soymilk and reduce by half. Add the almonzano.
Wrap one quarter of the filling into each crepe, and cut into one-inch (bite-sized lengths). Arrange cut side up in a small, oiled casserole. Pour the mushroom sauce over top and bake at 350F for approximately 20 minutes, until everything is hot and the sauce is bubbly and light golden on top. Serve hot.
Served here with sweet potato coins and braised broccoli rabe.