Tag Archives: creme fraiche

Chicken with Morels and Creme Fraiche

Seasoned to Taste - Chicken with Morels

I think I will always see morels as tiny brains. But instead of grossing me out like they did as a child, they now represent for me something with a deep, earthy flavor and folds that hold all the creamy sauce you toss them in.

I also associate morels with the French movie “Amelie.” One of the characters mentions “hare and morels” … I’ve always wondered what exactly that meant.

This dish is one I look forward to making at a dinner party. Simple and elegant for the lowly chicken breast. Morels and creme fraiche are expensive, so this deserves a special occasion.

From Ina Garten.

Chicken with Morels and Creme Fraiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dried morels, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 cups very hot water
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1⁄4 cup melted butter
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped shallots (1 large)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) creme fraiche
  • 1 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Lift the morels carefully from the hot water in order to leave any grit behind in the liquid. Rinse a few times to be sure all the grittiness is gone. Discard the liquid and dry the morels lightly with paper towels. Set aside.

Seasoned to Taste - Chicken with Morels

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off the excess. Heat half the butter in a large saute pan and cook the chicken in 2 batches over medium-low heat until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to an ovenproof casserole dish.

Add the rest of the butter to the pan along with the shallots, drained morels, and garlic. Saute over medium heat for 2 minutes, tossing and stirring constantly. Pour the wine into the pan and reduce the liquid by half over high heat, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the creme fraiche, cream (if using), lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Boil until the mixture starts to thicken, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 12 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through. To make ahead, refrigerate the chicken and sauce in the casserole and reheat slowly on top of the stove.

Served with rosemary Parmesan polenta.

Seasoned to Taste - Chicken with Morels

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

 

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Smoked-salmon blini with creme fraiche and dill

I used to hate smoked salmon, and now I’ve posted two smoked salmon recipes in a month. Chalking it up to brunch being such a large part of my life now that I live in The South – and smoked salmon just screams brunch.

Blini are like tiny, salty pancakes that offer a soft receptacle for fancy toppings, such as meat, cream and caviar. I made mine with slices of smoked salmon, a dollop of creme fraiche and a small sprig of dill. I’m not a huge dill fan, but its slight addition to the blini is nice – just don’t overdo it.

So delicious. The blini are made with buckwheat flour and regular flour, so they have an earthy taste. The creme fraiche is creamy and tangy, matching the smooth piquant fish.

Perfect party food because it is a perfect finger food, I give you…

Smoked Salmon Blini with Creme Fraiche and Dill

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, clarified, divided (melt butter in saucepan and spoon off the white solids that rise to the top. Otherwise, butter will crackle on pan and spit grease at you!)
  • 1/2 pound smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • Fresh dill sprig, for garnish

Combine both flours, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter, then whisk into the flour mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon of the clarified butter in a medium saute pan and drop the batter into the hot skillet, 1 tablespoon at a time. Cook over medium-low heat until bubbles form on the top side of the blini, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for 1 more minute, or until brown. Repeat with the remaining batter. Set aside.

I made mine the day before, then chilled them. Before serving, place on baking sheet in single layer and heat gently in an oven at 200 degrees. Then, top with remaining ingredients.

To serve, top the blini with a piece of smoked salmon. Add a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprig of dill.

I was surprised how easy the blini were to make – they slide easily out of the pan after becoming lightly browned on each side.

These blini bites are colorful, fresh, festive and simply delicious. Perfect for brunch, or an after-work get-together or any other time you want to make something a little bit special.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Peach and creme fraiche pie

Peaches and the Sunday Times

On the eve of Summer Solstice, I found myself curled on a wooden garden bench, looking up at delicate paper lanterns strung like glowing peaches hanging from a young tree. The terraced garden sparkled with glass-held candles expertly placed between geraniums, hostas, hydrangeas and others. A few cicada cries competed with the swaying summer music and fireflies burned green-yellow blurs near the grass’ edge.

Nights like these are well met with a juicy glass of wine and a thick slice of fresh peach pie cradled by the flakiest of crusts. You’ll want a crust so flaky that the fork competes with it, as if the crust wants you to work for that perfect bite of buttery pastry, sweet peach and creamy creme fraiche … but of course, you’ll be eating a peach and creme fraiche pie. And once you have this pie, you won’t go back to normal peach pies, which are often too sweet and with “soggy bottoms,” as Julia Child would say.

In all honesty, a lifetime of bad peach pies had turned me against the beauty of a really perfect peach pie. A pie unlike the others. A pie for non-pie-makers. A pie from Martha Stewart.

So came Smitten Kitchen, whose food pictures flirt with me daily. Smitten is very sensitive to people plagiarizing her recipes, so I’ll let you print it off yourself by clicking here for the crust recipe. All-butter pie crust? Lord! I’ve never had a crust like this before. Maybe I toasted it a bit too much, but it was so nice to have a crust with some integrity.

Once you make that, preferably the day ahead, prepare the pie filling with streusel topping. You will think that the creme fraiche has made it too watery, that it won’t set up. Have faith – it works like a dream, and the creme is such a perfect, slightly sour friend to the peaches. Like peaches and cream, but better.

Before you do anything, you must get really great peaches that are nice and ripe.

We traveled down to peach country, on the way to the Carolina beaches, through small towns with names like Wind Blow. While you’re at it, stop at one of those road-side stands for peach ice cream. The treat is worth standing in line behind 12 children in various stages of temper tantrums.

Peaches you get off a farm are covered with a much thicker fuzz. But don’t worry, you’ll remove it before you make this…

And slice it into this…

Flaky, flaky flaky!

Eat it, and feel all peachy, friends! xoxo