Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom Fricassee

In my family, dishes belong to individuals. There are my Aunt Norma’s melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls, and my Grandpa Clarence’s buttermilk pancakes, which became my dad’s when my grandpa passed away. No one makes pinoche like my Aunt Janice, and my Grammy guarded her “secret” pickle recipe long after my grandpa, with even greater secrecy, leaked it to my Aunt Wilma and half a dozen other relatives when Grammy was sick and had to let him do that season's canning for her.

As for my sister and me, we definitely have dishes we feel territorial about. When it comes to everyday eating, Julie always makes the tacos, and I always make the turkey meatloaf. In the party food category, timbales belong to her, and prosciutto involtini is mine. Even working on the cookbook, we have each staked our claims. She is perfecting banana flower salad, while I’m refining clay pot fish and Miss Vy’s Eggplant.

Naturally, a few weeks ago when we were deciding what to make for our friend, Michelle’s, birthday party, I was reluctant to hand over a recipe I’d been hoarding from Food & Wine: Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom Fricassee. Making a recipe in our home is like planting a flag in a foreign land. If you plant the flag first, the land is yours. My reluctance was justified. The dish was such a hit at Michelle’s party that Julie made it for Thanksgiving, and with that, the dish belonged to her.

Warm, earthy, and gooey, this is a perfect cold weather appetizer. If you want to take it to a party, you can make the fricassee in advance and just heat it up once you arrive.

Warm Camembert with Wild Mushroom Fricassee, adapted from Food & Wine


- ½ cup walnut pieces
- 1 8-ounce wheel of ripe Camembert in its wooden box, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp walnut oil
- ¾ pound wild mushrooms, trimmed, caps thinly sliced (crimini, shitake & Portobello)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 large sage leaves, minced
- crackers or bread, for serving


1) Preheat oven to 350.

2) Spread the walnut pieces on a baking sheet and toast in the over for about 7 minutes, until lightly browned.

3) Lower the oven temperature to 300.

4) Remove the Camembert from the box and unwrap it. Put the cheese back in the bottom half of the box and set it on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until soft. Keep an eye on it, to make sure it doesn’t get too runny.

5) Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the walnut oil.

6) Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

7) Uncover and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes longer.

8) Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.

9) Stir in the sage; season with salt and pepper.

10) Invert the Camembert onto a platter.

11) Stir the walnuts into the mushrooms and spoon over the cheese.

12) Serve with bread or crackers.

Note on Making Walnut Nibbles:

When making this recipe for Thanksgiving, Julie mixed in the some extra minced sage with some extra toasted walnuts and left them in a container for a few days. The result was a divine cocktail nibble.

(photo by Julie Fay)


anni said...

Oh my!

I'll have to try this one for the holiday buffet. Thanks for sharing!

Sorry I missed you this week... So much to do, so little time. Catch you on my next trip to LA...

Wishing you and Julie the best!


Anni :-)

Anonymous said...

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