Creatures from the Dark, Cepes on a Misty Afternoon

What strange creatures, dwelling in the dark of the earth, knitting vast palaces underneath the ground, drawing food from the soil, eating, weaving, thriving unseen even by the crawling worms. And with a noiseless sigh breathing themselves into existence only to withdraw back into the earth. 

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They are everywhere, now, with the rain wetting their mucous beds, sprouting, well, like mushrooms. We haven’t even gone ourselves, for the cepes, they find their way to our kitchen through the hands of friends and strangers alike, and we are all equally startled by the sheer abundance these days. I dry some, only to enjoy the scent of roasted pine and sun kissed autumn leaves wafting through the house.

Outside the rain falls in silence, clouds hanging sluggish over the land, swallowing every attempt at colour, lulling our world in a seemingly aeonian twilight, the realm of fungus.

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Meanwhile, in the kitchen, we start cleaning the cepes from soil and dirt, gently brushing their fleshy stems. Cutting encrusted residues from their feet, scratching out the bits eaten by forest creatures, removing the mossy foam under their hats. Cutting, chopping, opening a bottle of mature pinot as we’re halfway through. The afternoon slyly steals away and leaves a mucky void of darkness behind, lurking along the river, clambering the many trodden steps from the garden up to our house, moping at the balcony doors, begging to be let in.

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We light candles instead and start cooking, à l’improviste. 

First a little tartine as a starter:

Take a good handful of cepes foam, chop and fry in fresh butter, very slowly. The foam will melt while frying, just keep on turning occasionally, and gently brown from all sides. Add a little grated garlic, season with parsley, fleur de sel and a whiff of pepper. Form two galettes the size of the tartine and fry crispy on both sides.

Roast two slices of old rye bread, serve with the cepe galette.

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Then a little cepe sandwich to continue:

Preheat the oven to 220° Celsius, no fan.

Cut a big cepe into four slices, coat generously with olive oil and lay out on your baking tray. Given the cepes are roasted at a considerably high temperature, you may add herbs thereby gently smoking the cepes. I used some mugwort stems, very appropriate for this time of the year, I think.

Bake for about 15 minutes in the top section of your oven, check occasionally on your cepes, as the baking time will considerably depend on their size. 

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Meanwhile fry two slices of bacon or, for vegetarians, an egg.

Season the cepes with fleur de sel and a whiff of pepper when roasted and dress them on a plate, a slice of cepe, a slice of fried bacon (or egg, alternatively), a slice of cepe etc.

Enjoy!

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