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Savory Mushroom Flans

These flans may be made in advance and frozen. The recipe makes 36 small flans, just right to pop into your mouth.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus a little extra for coating pans
8 ounces fresh white mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and mushrooms cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
About 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken stock
4 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
6 tablespoons grated imported Parmesan cheese, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons extra for garnish
Fresh, small rosemary sprigs for garnish

Arrange rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 3 non-stick mini-muffin tins (12 molds each) lightly and set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons butter in large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add white and shiitake mushrooms and saute, stirring constantly, until all liquids have evaporated and mushrooms are lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and stir and cook 1 minute more. Add stock and bring mixture to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, until all liquid has evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Taste and season with more salt, if needed. Remove from heat.

Divide mushrooms equally among molds.

Gently whisk together eggs and half-and-half in a large 4-cup or other large measuring cup with a spout. Pour mixture into molds so that each mold is about 3/4 full. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon grated Parmesan into each mold.

Bake custards until set and a sharp knife inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove to cooling rack for 5 minutes.

To unmold flans, run a small knife around edges of each mold, then gently lift out. (Flans can be made 1 day ahead. Cool to room temperature, then transfer to a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reheat in preheated 350-degree oven until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.)

To serve, arrange flans on serving tray. Sprinkle each flan with a little of remaining Parmesan cheese, then garnish each with a small rosemary sprig.

Betty Rosbottom

Thursday, November 30, 2000

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