Michel Richard: 'Happy In The Kitchen'

Many top chefs look up to Michel Richard because of his innovative interpretations of classic dishes.

His "Citronelle" restaurants in Washington and Los Angeles feature foods we love, with a modern twist.

Richard shares his secrets in the new cookbook, "Happy in the Kitchen."

He also serves up some of his tips and tricks, enabling home cooks to feel as if they're being let in on something.

RECIPES

"Shroomwhich"

Makes 16 pieces; Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer or 4 as a first course

1 1/2 cups Mushroom jus
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 shallots, minced
1 large garlic clove
3/4 cups Mushroom puree
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Eight 1/4-inch slices Brioche or pain de mie, crusts removed
8 thin slices Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter

Combine the mushroom jus, cream, and shallots in a medium saucepan. Using a rasp grater, grate the garlic directly into the pan (or mince the garlic and add it). Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half, to slightly more than 1 cup. Remove the pan from the heat.

Place the mushroom puree in a small bowl. One tablespoon at a time, stir 6 tablespoons of the jus mixture into the puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve the remaining jus mixture to use as a dipping sauce (set aside at room temperature for up to 30 minutes or refrigerate for longer).

Lay out 5 pieces of the brioche on your work surface. Trim the slices of cheese to fit the bread, and place 1 slice of cheese on each of the 4 pieces of bread. Using a small offset spatula, spread the mushroom mixture over the cheese. Top the mushrooms with the remaining cheese and bread. (At this point the sandwiches can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and refrigerated for several hours, or frozen for longer storage. If frozen, defrost before cooking.)

To serve, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Brush the sandwiches on both sides with the melted butter.

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the sandwiches and brown on both sides. If the cheese is not melted, transfer the sandwiches to a baking sheet and place in a 250F oven until the cheese has melted.

Meanwhile, reheat the reserved jus mixture. Cut each sandwich on the diagonal into 4 triangular pieces. Pour the jus mixture into a small bowl, and serve on the side for dipping.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.