This savory cheddar dutch baby topped with golden mushrooms and wilted pea greens makes an easy weeknight meal or weekend brunch. Vegetarian and gluten-free.
If anything is good for pounding humility into you permanently, it’s the restaurant business. –Anthony Bourdain
I’ve worked in kitchens since I was in high school. I waited tables through college. And my first job post-graduation was in a gluten-free wholesale bakery. I’ve never held an office job, never owned anything suit-like, just a chef’s coat. I always thought that cooking seemed extremely glamorous. But it really wasn’t. I read Kitchen Confidential when I first moved to San Francisco in the early 2000’s and it helped me to see the restaurant world with open eyes.
I never really fit into restaurants. I’m too slow, too sensitive. I dreamed of having a job where my technical proficiency wasn’t measured by my speed. I thought cooking would be creative, but even as a pastry chef I was really just making the same things over and over again. It felt like manual labor. The pay was slightly above minimum wage and there were no tips, no benefits. Being a pastry chef had been my goal since I was little, but once I’d arrived, I realized there was no place else to go. I didn’t have the drive to manage a larger team or join a union. The only way up was out.
Kitchen Confidential made me want to write my own memoir about the restaurant world. But I wanted to write it in my favorite genre – romantic comedy chick lit. This lead me to a writing class where the teacher suggested I start a blog about food and writing. I was only barely employed, working about 20 hours a week at a dysfunctional kitchen where the doors of the oven and refrigerators would literally fall off in my hands, the chef wanted me to conjure desserts out of the air rather than purchase ingredients, and one coworker would regularly place his hand on my belly and say “My baby in there.” I couldn’t find anything better. This was during the 2008 recession, so I felt lucky to have any work at all.
I did start a blog, naming it after a term that Jay and I kicked around a bunch: Bojon – no job, backwards. It’s lead to many great things. I have much to thank Anthony Bourdain for.
Bourdain had a special disdain for vegetarians, as did my coworkers at the aforementioned restaurant (I made them pasta with pesto and broccoli for lunch once and they refused to touch it). But I like to think that hearty dishes like this mushroom cheddar dutch baby can be a good gateway food for even the most rabid carnivores. I whipped it up with ingredients leftover from this quiche, so it’s full of some of the same ingredients – good dairy and eggs from Organic Valley, and a medley of mushrooms cooked up in ghee, white wine, shallots, and herbs.
The batter comes together quickly in a blender and it bakes into a puff of eggy, cheesy goodness in the heat of the oven, crispy on the outside with a custardy interior. Add the mushrooms and some wilted greens, and you have yourself a protein-packed vegetarian and gluten-free meal.
Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. –Anthony Bourdain
Rest in peace, Mr. Bourdain.
*Thanks for reading. For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this Gluten-Free Mushroom Cheddar Dutch Baby, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup (235 ml) whole milk
- 1⁄4 cup (35 g) sweet white rice flour (such as Mochiko)
- 1⁄4 cup (30 g) millet flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1⁄4 cup (25 g) GF oat flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- a few turns freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (3 ½ ounces / 100 g) lightly packed grated sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 ½ tablespoons (22 ml) ghee (or butter)
- 1 ½ tablespoons (22 ml) ghee (or butter)
- 1 small shallot, peeled and diced
- 8 ounces (225 g) mushrooms (I used a combination of king oyster, maitake, shiitake), cut into pretty pieces
- 4 tablespoons (60 ml) white wine, rosé, or vegetable broth
- a few pinches salt
- 1 cup lightly packed pea greens or arugula
- 2 tablespoons snipped chives
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- freshly ground black pepper
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425ºF. Have ready a heat-proof 9- or 10-inch skillet.
- In the bowl of a blender, combine the eggs, milk, sweet rice, millet, and oat flours, salt, and pepper. Blend on medium-low until smooth, then add the cheese and pulse once or twice just to combine.
- Heat the skillet in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and add the ghee, coating only the bottom of the pan (leaving the sides ungreased will help the batter rise up the sides of the pan). Pour the batter into the hot pan and bake until puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes.
- While the dutch baby bakes, heat the ghee in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, adding the wine bit by bit if the pan looks dry, about 10 - 15 minutes. Toss in the pea greens to wilt, 2-3 minutes, then finish with chives, lemon, and pepper.
- Omit the cheese and pepper from the batter, adding the zest from ½ medium lemon and 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake as directed, topping with whatever you like (chia jam, fresh fruit, and greek yogurt are my personal favorites!)