Monday, October 27, 2014

Leek and Mushroom Tart

There are three things that, when swirled together in a skillet, smell absolutely heavenly. They are mushrooms, garlic, and butter. Say no more. I just hover over the stove and innn-hale.

Pair sauteed mushrooms with leek - the elegantly long, weighty cylindrical bundle of leaf sheaths, recognized by its white, yellow, and green hues and bold flavors of onion, shallots, and scallions - and you've got fireworks going off in your kitchen. Layer the ensemble on buttery, flaky pastry, dress it with gruyère or goat cheese (or even sour cream), and spruce it up with a touch of fresh thyme - and there you have a sensational tart that is sure to carry you deep into the woods into the French countryside.

Make your own pastry if you have the time and the energy; otherwise, go for puff pastry sheets like I did and practically have this delicious tart piping hot out of the oven in 40 minutes. Serve as an appetizer, a vegetarian main dish, or tote this savory tart to a holiday gathering; just be sure to grab a slice before it vanishes!

Rinse in between sheaths to remove any dirt
To prepare...
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen
2 leeks, parted in the middle and thinly sliced into half moons
1/2 lb. (227g) cremini mushroom, cleaned, stemmed, and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of butter
85g cheese of your choice (eg. crumbled goat cheese, gruyère. I used 1/3 cup of grated cheddar)
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
Fresh thyme and flat leaf parsley, chopped

1. In a skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon butter over meduim-high heat. Briefly sauté garlic, then add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft and have released their juices, 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Melt the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter. Add leek and sauté until softened and barely browned, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 200C. Place baking sheet in oven to warm up. In a small bowl, whisk together the cheese, milk, egg, and a generous pinch of pepper.

4. Roll out puff pastry on baking paper. Lightly dust pastry with all-purpose flour if too sticky. Spread the cheese mixture to within 1 inch of the edge of the dough. Cover with leek, and fold the edges of the dough over the filling to make a free-form tart.  

5. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet along with the baking paper. Bake until the crust puffs and both the crust and the leeks are golden, about 15-20 minutes. Scatter mushrooms over the leeks and bake for 5 minutes more.

Tip: Adding in mushrooms towards the end can prevent the mushrooms from drying excessively. If added in the beginning (pictured on left), lightly cover the filling with foil halfway through baking, like I did.

Sprinkle tart with thyme and parsley, serve!

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