Some of my culinary school classes started at 5:30 in the morning. By the time I got to school, many of the chefs and teaching assistants had already been hard at work for an hour or more, prepping the food needed for the day’s service at the student-run restaurant. The hardest part of those early classes wasn’t actually waking up before dawn. It was the smells I encountered when I walked in.
However, there was one savory smell that I couldn’t get enough of, no matter what time of day – the aroma of mushroom duxelles (pronounced “dook-SELL”). Duxelles is a classic French mixture of minced mushrooms, shallots and garlic cooked in butter, and finished with wine and cream. It has an incredibly deep, earthy flavor and aroma that is intoxicating. It’s sometimes used to add rich flavor to soups and sauces, but is primarily used as a stuffing – you can stuff chicken breasts with it, or wrap puff pastry around it for an appetizer. Making it was one of my favorite things to do in school.
Here, I slathered this glorious duxelle onto some crusty bread, and piled it with asparagus and slices of gruyere. I toasted the sandwiches in a skillet until everything was warmed through and the cheese was oozingly melty. —foxeslovelemons
garlic cloves, peeled
shallots, peeled and halved
ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp towel; halved
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
dry white wine
medium asparagus spears, ends trimmed; cut crosswise in half
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place garlic, shallots and mushrooms in food processor and pulse until everything is very finely chopped. In medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add mushroom mixture; season with salt and pepper. Cook 20 to 22 minutes or until mixture is browned and all moisture is evaporated; stirring frequently. Stir in wine and cream; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, place asparagus on rimmed baking pan and lightly spray with cooking spray. Transfer to oven and roast 5 minutes or until just barely tender.
Spread 4 slices of bread with mushroom mixture. Divide asparagus and cheese over mushroom mixture; top with remaining bread slices. Lightly spray large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray; place sandwiches in cold skillet. Turn on stove for medium heat. Cook 6 minutes or until toasted; flip sandwiches and cook an additional 4 minutes or until both sides are toasted and cheese is melted.