I'd like to introduce you to a new series I will be writing. It's called "Food to Share." I recently read a quote by Shana Ahern that simply said, "Figure out what fascinates you about food." Well for me, it's sharing food. Why? Let's put this into practical terms. I don't want to down an entire pint of ice cream by myself at home because I don't have any other food for dinner. That's sad and shameful. On the other hand, walking to Jeni's to share an ice cream sundae with a friend is nothing short of a happy memory. Shared food is the best kind of food.
My favorite meal to share (because dessert doesn't count as a meal unless you don't eat anything else) is brunch: sleeping late, drinking early, eating fancy. What more could a girl want? I've decided to share a brunch recipe with you first.
Now I got a lot of great presents this Christmas but one of the best was a butcher shop (I say, as if it opened just for me), complete with cheese monger Kathleen Cotter, owner of The Bloomy Rind! The Porter Road Butcher/Bloomy Rind shop is a dream come true. They carry a menagerie of local meats, cheeses, bread, honey, and coming soon, Sweet Betweens.
Have I ever mentioned my predilection for cheese to you? Well it started early. I ate broccoli cheese casserole instead of baby food. For an entire year during my adolescence I ate only cheese: I would order slices of cheese for lunch instead of a sandwich at restaurants. Sometimes I still plan my meals around which type of cheese I've purchased that week.
So you can imagine my delight when I saw Kathleen Cotter at the Nashville Farmer's Market for the first time this past summer. I couldn't believe my eyes and walked by her several times just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. Then I walked up to her and accidentally said something very awkward: "I've been checking you out all morning!" She laughed.
This dish is, and pardon my redundancy, delicious! It's small, but rich- just enough, or possibly a little too much depending on who you are, for two. Layers: spicy, fatty chorizo, topped with earthy and tangy mushrooms, and on top of that, fresh and sweet wilted leeks, and best of all- ooey, gooey cheese and an egg yolk on top. Sigh. I want some right now. Brunch food is good for dinner too, you know.
Cheesy Brunch For Two
1 link raw chorizo
1/2t red pepper flakes
1/2 pint mushrooms
1T balsamic vinegar
1 leek, trimmed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
about 3oz good cheese (if it slices or grates you got ripped off!)
1-2 egg yolks
In a skillet, saute chorizo and red pepper flakes over medium to medium high heat until cooked through and remove from pan. Place evenly in ramekin. Chop mushrooms roughly and cook in sausage fat until ever so slightly golden brown. Remove pan from heat and add balsamic vinegar, stirring until none is left. Put mushrooms in even layer on top of chorizo. Wipe pan clean with paper towel. Add a touch of butter and oil to the pan and cook leeks over medium heat (with a pinch of kosher salt) until they just start to caramelize. Pour wine into pan and cook down until mostly evaporated. Layer leeks evenly on top of mushrooms. Slice cheese as best you can and put it on top of leeks. Last, put egg yolks(s) in the center of the ramekin on top of the cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and yolks are warmed through. Serve with toast.