2005 - The old limestone quarries in la
Many of the larger quarries are nowadays being used to grow all kinds of mushrooms. I’ve already written about our visit to the ‘Cave aux Moines champignonnière’ near Saumur in one of my first posts in May.
The most common type is of course the ‘champignon de Paris’ or button mushroom. In the past you only found the white variety, but the brown or chestnut coloured version is rapidly gaining popularity because of its slightly nutty flavour. Then of course there are the ‘pleurottes’, the ‘pieds bleus’, and the Japanese ‘Shitake’. The last one is said to have cholesterol reducing qualities.
Very often the mushroom caves also have ‘galipettes’ on sale. In fact, these galipettes are simply white or chestnut button mushrooms that have become too big to be sold as such. Their funny name refers to the fact that, due to the importance of the hat’s diameter, the stem can no longer carry the weight and breaks, making the mushroom tumble over, or do a ‘galipette’ as this rolling motion is called in French.
'Galipettes aux 4 fromages' when they come out of the oven.
You'll also find ‘galipettes’ on the menu card of restaurants and caterers, and on the stalls of market vendors selling roasted chicken. In this case the ‘galipette’ is the head of an oversized mushroom stuffed with meat, herbs and other ingredients. You can use minced pork, chicken of beef, chopped onions and garlic, finely cut pieces of ham mixed with egg or cheese, rilettes, etc. The stuffed mushrooms are heated in an oven until the stuffing is cooked and the flesh of the mushroom becomes tender and soggy with the juices of the stuffing. You can eat them warm or cold as a starter or as a simple snack, with a slice of baguette and a glass of red wine.
We bought our first ‘galipettes’ from a roasted chicken vendor at the tiny Thursday market in Vernou-sur-Brenne near Vouvray. When we told the man that these would be our first ‘galipettes’ ever, he gave us two extra for free. They had a minced pork and herb stuffing and made a perfect side dish for our picnic lunch.
Preparing ‘galipettes’ is easy and quick. My most recent ‘creation’ is a stuffing of diced tomato, chopped spring onion and mozzarella cheese. Simply add some pepper and salt and a splash of olive oil. Put them on a tray on which you have sprinkled some extra olive oil and slide the tray in a warm oven (180°C) for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your ‘galipette’. Bon appétit!
P.S. In France saying that you are planning to 'faire des galipettes' may cause some giggles, as the expression has another meaning that I don't want to go into here, as I don't want my blog to get an 'adults only' rating!