http://foragerchef.com/steak-and-morels-en-crepinette-with-nettles-and-grains/ FEBRUARY 22, 2015 BY ALAN BERGOLEAVE A COMMENT Before the Salt Cellar opened, I was looking through books for ideas on “old school” French food I could put a spin on for the menu. Crepinettes were one thing I thought of, but decided to put them on the back-burner to keep the saute stations a little easier to work, for the time being. Basically a crepinette is a piece of meat with a little stuffing on it, usually a lamb chop or a filet, wrapped in caul fat and roasted. The caul fat melts, and traps the stuffing inside, leaving a beautiful silhouette around the meat. A CREPINETTE MADE WITH MORELS AND BEEF FILET. If you aren’t familiar with caul fat (also known as lace fat), it’s a thin, fatty membrane that surrounds the internal organs of four legged animals. If you get a hold of some, it will likely be pork caul, which is my favorite, since it doesn’t seem to have as many large clumps of fat as lamb or beef, which can get a little flubbery. PORK CAUL-ALMOST SPOOKY LOOKING. I love caul for it’s versatility: you can stuff it with just about anything, it melts and becomes nearly invisible, and it has a unique shape. Caul can be tricky to find, but you can look for it through your local butcher. It isn’t used often, and plenty of places that process meat just throw it away, so ask around and you might get lucky. To start burning through the Spring stash of morels, I thought it would be fun make a crepinette stuffing filled with them to bursting, it turned out great. MORELS ARISING FROM THEIR WINTER SLUMBER. Here’s the jist of the dish: Take a bunch of dried morels, rehydrate them, then cook them down in their juice until they caramelize with some shallots and herbs, then you pack the mushrooms on top of a steak, wrap the whole she-bang in caul fat, and glaze it quickly under the broiler to crisp the caul. Making sure to cut the morels into very large pieces made their texture really really stand out, as well as giving a crazy looking cross section when the whole thing was sliced. PACKING THE MORELS ON TOP OF THE STEAK BEFORE WRAPPING TIGHTLY IN CAUL. There is plenty of room for improv here too. I served the crepinette with a warm grain salad and a glace flavored with the morel liquid and pickled ramps, but those are just examples. CROSS SECTION I also used a beef filet here, but you wouldn’t even have to use steak here at all-a sausage mixture would be great with a little stuffing on top too, wrapped in the caul. STEAK AND MORELS EN CREPINETTE, WITH NETTLES AND GRAINS Serves 4 4 eight ounce beef filets 8 cups small to medium sized dried morels Pork caul, cut into squares large enough to wrap the steaks topped with mushrooms Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper 1 gallon unsalted beef stock, preferably homemade 2 tablespoons unsalted butter Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper Lard or cooking oil, for searing the beef 1/4 cup shallot, diced 1/8 in 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme 1/2 cup dry sherry 1 recipe grain and nettle pilaf (recipe follows-optional) 1 recipe pickled ramp-morel glace (recipe follows) Method Pour beef stock over the dried morels to cover. Allow the morels to rehydrate, then agitate vigorously to remove any grit. Remove the morels from the liquid, slice each mushroom in half, then strain the liquid through a chinois or cheesecloth (or coffee filter). Reserve 3 quarts of strained stock for the morel-ramp glace (see below), and the rest for the morel stuffing. Heat the lard or cooking oil in a pan and sear each filet for 2 minutes on each side to brown them. Do not move the steaks while they sear, and flip them only once. when the steaks are seared, but still very rare, remove them and set aside while you cook the morels. Melt 1 T of the butter in the pan you used to cook the steaks. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about two minutes, add the dried morels and cook for 2 minutes more, season with salt and pepper, then deglaze with the sherry and cook down until the pan is nearly dry. Next add the reserved morel liquid, and cook until the pan is nearly dry again, this could take 15-20 minutes. Add the fresh chopped thyme, double check the seasoning for salt and pepper and reserve until needed. To prepare the crepinettes, take each seared steak and put it in the center of a piece of caul fat that will fit it. Put some of the cooked morels on top of each steak, making sure there is enough caul to completely cover and hold everything together. Wrap the steaks in caul fat and reserve until you’re ready to bake them and serve. To serve the crepinettes, heat an oven to 400 and put the steaks on a cookie sheet with a resting rack so that the bottoms don’t overcook. Bake the crepinettes until just warmed through in the middle, then broil them to crisp the caul for a few minutes. Divide some of the pilaf between each of 4 warmed dinner plates, top with a crepinette, then the ramp glace and serve immediately.