by Mollie Katzen
From The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation
Crustless—and replete with an airy, custardy pancake-like texture (therefore, a popover), this is baked directly in a round skillet and then gets cut into wedges (hence, a pie). Very much fun, especially for mushroom lovers, for whom this could well become the new dinner fall-back plan.
• The combination of fresh domestic and shiitake mushrooms results in layers of deep mushroom flavor. If you can’t find shiitake, it’s okay to substitute crimini (brown) mushrooms or use all domestic ones.
• Room temperature eggs acquire much more volume when beaten than cold ones, so if you think of it—and your kitchen is not too hot— take the eggs out of the refrigerator a few hours ahead of time. Break them into a bowl while they are still cold, and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely minced onion
1/2 pound fresh domestic mushrooms—wiped clean, stemmed if necessary, and thinly sliced
About 6 medium-sized fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and minced (1/4 pound)
1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon thyme
3 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Heat the oven to 375°F.
Melt the butter in a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened.
Add the mushrooms, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, thyme, and a generous amount of black pepper, and cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, or until the liquid the mushrooms have given off evaporates, and the mushrooms are becoming golden brown around the edges.
Meanwhile, combine the eggs, milk, flour, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, in a blender, and whip them into a smooth batter. (If you don’t have a blender, whisk all of this together in a medium-sized bowl. It’s fine if the mixture has a few lumps.) Set this aside until the mushrooms are done cooking.
When the mushrooms are ready, transfer them to a bowl, then thoroughly wash and dry the pan, and return it to the stove. Add the other tablespoon of butter, then turn on the heat to low – just until the butter melts and begins to foam. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and swirl to coat the pan. (Be sure to get the corners.) Add the mushrooms, spreading them into a fairly even layer, and then pour in the batter.
Bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it becomes dry on top, and feels solid when touched lightly with a finger tip. (Another sign that it’s done: The edges will have shrunk from the sides of the pan and become quite brown.) Serve hot or warm, cut into wedges.