Storified by Arya McLean· Sat, Mar 23 2013 18:57:59
The flavors of nature intermingle and combust in this wild yet sophisticated salad recipe. We will be using this kind of mushroom for cooking the Flambéed cepes mushrooms plus chestnut, and apples in a bed of mixed greens and fresh herbs dressed with mushroom vinaigrette in a dish created by award-winning and world-renowned Chef Régis Marcon, known for his natural and innovative cuisine.
Known as Porcini in Italian, Penny Bun in Britain, Cepes or Ceps in French, these wild mushrooms are prized for their rich flavor and earthy aroma; just a few bits of these precious fungi added to savory recipes will enhance the dish and add height, depth, and wonderful complexity. It is popular among vegetarians for its meaty, slightly nutty flavor and creamy texture and is often used as a substitute to beef, pork or chicken to make various vegetarian recipes. Ceps is a versatile ingredient that has been described as “the wild mushroom par excellence.” In this recipe, it is used in two ways: to make mushroom oil for the vinaigrette and flambéed as a main ingredient for the salad.
You can make your own mushroom oil simply by lightly frying dried cepes mushroom in peanut oil and allowing it to marinade in the oil for a month, storing it in a glass jar with a tight seal. The oil will develop a very strong mushroom flavor and can be used for cooking, seasoning, or making salad dressing.
Apples and roasted chestnuts lend a delicately sweet flavor to this salad dish. Both chestnuts and ceps can be described as nutty and creamy, but their distinctive nuttiness and creaminess are miles apart in difference. The tangy apples cut a sharp taste in the palate enhanced by the vinegar in the dressing. Flambéed in a peach liqueur, all these flavors meet and mingle to create a wonderfully warm, refreshingly cold, and perfectly balanced salad dish.