Champignon, masculine noun (un champignon, le champignon, des champignons) = mushroom (pronounced shom-pi-ñawng, slight stress on the first syllable).
Champignon also means fungus in a wider sense.
Types of champignon are endless: champignon comestible = edible mushroom; vénéneux = poisonous; hallucinogène = magic or hallucinogenic; champignons de Paris = button mushrooms; champignons des bois = wild mushrooms; champignon atomique = mushroom cloud; une maladie due à un champignon = a fungal disease; and so on.
Expressions include pousser comme des champignons = to grow very rapidly (for instance ville champignon = a town that spreads rapidly); appuyer sur le champignon = to put your foot down (on the accelerator);
The word apparently comes from the low Latin campolinius (a small product of the countryside).
My recipe for today is for a tourte aux champignons = a mushroom pie. Pies are always comforting. They can be made ahead of time and popped in the oven at the last minute, either to cook or warm up. Not the microwave though, your pastry would be destroyed. They freeze well, before or after cooking. The delicious pastry in the bottom of the pie soaks up juices. I have used puff pastry, but you can just as easily make or buy plain shortcrust pastry, or even suet pastry. My photos are not very good, I’m afraid, the light was lacking.
For a pie for one person (it’s so much nicer to have one’s own personal pie, just do two or four or however many you will be at table), you will need:
- 4 nice large fresh firm mushrooms, large enough to be sliced
- 1 small garlic clove
- a handful of chopped parsley
- 30 gr butter
- a small carrot
- puff or shortcrust pastry
- a few spinach leaves
- salt and pepper
- grated cheese
- a little milk
- Heat the oven to 160°C.
- Prepare your pastry in a thin rectangle about 20cm (8″) square (or to fit and greatly overlap your pie dish). Square is easier than round.
- Peel the garlic, chop the parsley, slice the mushrooms thickly, peel and slice the carrot in thin rounds.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and gently sauté the mushrooms, crushed garlic, sliced carrot and chopped parsley. They don’t have to cook much, just soften and be well coated in garlic and parsley butter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the rectangle of pastry in a buttered pie dish letting the spare pastry overhang it. Lay raw baby spinach leaves without their stems in the bottom of the pie and fill with the sautéed ingredients.
- Fold the pastry inwards so that the corners meet in the middle. It is OK if there is a bit of a hole at the four outside corners, the steam will escape. Pinch the seams to keep them closed.
- Brush with a little milk and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is puffed and the cheese golden. Serve with a green salad.
Delicately garlicky with lots of mushroom flavour.