Friday, February 5, 2010

Wild Mushroom & Gruyere Tart

Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin
Serves 6 –8

Depending on the occasion, a tart like this can be great as a low key bite-size hors d’oeuvre, or you can add a bit of instant classiness and serve it with a simple green salad as a elegant first course. This time, I took the hors d’oeuvre route. Since it’s kinda rustic itself, I served it in a rustic fashion, just sliding it off the pan onto a cutting board, slicing it into 2 inch squares, and serving it just like that, right atop the cutting board. It never even left the kitchen counter, and was a perfect casual appetizer to snack on while we chatted in the kitchen, as I put the final touches to the main course.


1 sheet frozen puff pastry
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 pounds wild mushrooms *
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbl butter
1 bunch green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup sour cream
6 oz gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
1/2 cup chives, sliced in 1/2 inch slices
1 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Allow the puff pastry to defrost in the refrigerator, for about two hours or so, until it can be unfolded easily without ripping. Unroll onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Score a 1/4 inch border with a paring knife along the edge of the pastry. Make an egg wash by mixing one egg yolk with 1/2 tsp water. Brush this egg wash along the border, only using as much as you need. Place the puff pastry in the freezer until you are ready to use it.

Wash and trim the mushrooms, and then depending on the type of mushroom, slice thinly or tear into large bite-size pieces. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for about two minutes. Add 2 Tbl olive oil and 1 Tbl butter, and swirl around the pan. When the butter is melted and foamy, sprinkle half the mushroom into the pan. Season with a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sauté for about five minutes, stirring only occasionally, until tender yet golden and a little crispy. Remove and spread the mushrooms over a baking sheet, to cool. Repeat these steps to sauté the second batch of mushrooms. **

When the second set of mushrooms is just cooked, turn the heat down to low and add the reserved mushrooms back to the pan, along with the green onions and thyme. Season again with salt and pepper, to your own taste. Sauté gently for just a couple minutes, until the onions are a little wilted. Spread over a baking sheet, to cool.

Combine the ricotta, the sour cream, 1 egg yolk, 2 ounces of grated gruyere, a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix with a rubber spatula to combine thoroughly. Spread over the prepared puff pastry, keeping within the lines of the scored border. Scatter the remaining gruyere on top, and arrange the mushroom/onion mixture on top of this. At this point, the tart can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to serve. It can even be made a day ahead. (Always good when it comes to having dinner parties!)

About 45 minutes before you want to serve the tart, preheat an oven to 400°F. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown (both on the outside border and underneath – lift it up a bit to peer beneath and make sure the bottom of the tart is thoroughly cooked too) and the cheese is bubbling. Allow the tart to cool a few minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the parsley, tarragon and chives in a small bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper, the olive oil and lemon juice. Sprinkle over the tart. Slice the tart and serve.

* I’ll just admit right now, wild mushrooms are pretty pricey. For this tart, I used oyster, trumpet and enoki mushrooms, which were definitely kinda expensive. But it really is worth it. Trust me – I actually am a frugal shopper. But I do allow myself to splurge, when it counts. And here it does. A perfectly yummy tart can be made with less expensive shitake and cremini (baby Portobello) mushrooms, but I do think it falls a little bit short of the utter mushroomy deliciousness you can achieve with true wild mushrooms.

** For a sure fire way to get nicely caramelized sautéed mushrooms, remember three things: 1. Always use high heat, and get the pan really, really hot before you add the mushrooms. 2. Never crowd the pan. You want no more than a single layer of mushroom slices covering the bottom of the pan. And 3. Don’t stir too often. Give them time to develop a nice golden sear. If you mix them around too much, they’ll never get the chance.




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