The chefs in Canada’s Best New Cookbook — including Montreal’s Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly — are from restaurants that were named “best new” establishments in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine surveys.
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Canada is not rich in chefs’ cookbooks, but now we have a fine one that represents the cuisine of chefs from more than 30 restaurants, from Fogo Island, NL, to Tofino, BC, to the Northwest Territories. It’s called Canada’s Best New Cookbook (IndigoPress, sold in Indigo stores, $35) and is a project of Destination Canada (formerly the Canadian Tourism Commission) and Air Canada. The chefs cited are from restaurants previously named “best new” establishments in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine surveys.
Research and stories are by Toronto food writer Amy Rosen, beautiful photographs of restaurant recipes are by Sylvie Li and illustrations are by Stéphanie Savard. Essays about regional food are dotted through the book.
The chefs’ recipes involve culinary expertise. Today’s dish — adapted slightly from that of chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly, of the Montreal bistro Marconi — is one of the simpler dishes.
Mushrooms, Poached Egg and Brown Butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, browned
2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) oyster mushrooms, in medium pieces
1 cup (250 mL) shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, in medium pieces
1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped dry shallots
3/4 cup (175 mL) dry white wine
3 cups (750 mL) chicken stock
1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter, in small cubes
1 tablespoon (15 mL) soy willow
4 thick slices sourdough bread, lightly toasted, buttered
4 poached eggs
Maldon salt (can be substituted with fleur de sel or sea salt)
Brown the 1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbling. Cook just until it darkens and smells nutty. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat and cook oyster and shiitake mushrooms until lightly coloured, about 5 minutes.
Add shallots and cook 1 minute more, then deglaze with the wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock and continue cooking until reduced by half, about 8 to 10 minutes. Then add cubes of butter and soy sauce and cook, stirring, until sauce is of a consistency that can coat the back of a spoon. Add salt to taste and set aside, keeping warm.
Prepare toast and eggs.
To serve, warm 4 shallow bowls and place a slice of toast in each one. Divide mushroom mixture between the 4 bowls and top with sauce.
Sprinkle chopped chives on mushrooms and sauce, and place a poached egg on each serving. Season with Maldon salt and a spoonful of the brown butter.
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