Amanita Velosa and Spring Vegetables in Garlic Béchamel Cream Sauce

On the same week in April that I found a full basket of Amanita velosa, our garden was green with Swiss chard and asparagus, all of which just cried out for a sherry and garlic cream sauce. This made a perfect side dish for chicken breast barbecued with balsamic vinegar and rosemary. . . a simple and perfect meal. Since there were only two of us, this recipe serves two.

Heat the olive oil in a wok or large covered frying pan. Add the garlic and sear for 30 seconds. Add the chopped mushrooms and sautée an additional three minutes. Add the asparagus, chopped chard and 4 Tablespoons of dry sherry. Stir briefly then put the cover on, lowering the heat. Keep covered to steam for 5 - 10 minutes while preparing the cream sauce, tossing occasionally to prevent burning.

For the cream sauce, melt the butter with the flour on low heat in a small saucepan, stirring to remove any lumps. As soon as the flour is thoroughly mixed and the butter is just begining to bubble, add one tablespoon of sherry, a dash of nutmeg (about 1/8 teaspoon) and a pinch of salt. Stir for a moment then add the milk. Heat and stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Now add the cream sauce to the steamed vegetables, toss together and serve imediately.