it was time to clean out the fridge before it’d be too late to save some of the produce, that i never got to during the week. my cat is still at the pet hospital, but making some progress in her recovery and may get to come home soon. that has made me feel so much better and less distracted. the day before, i’d made an olive oil pastry dough,
that seemed perfect for tarts, so that was the inspiration, along with the pile of various mushrooms that were supposed to become a soup, that i never got around to making. there were also some shallots already peeled for the soup. a tiny voice in my head kept screaming, “mushroom duxelles, make mushroom duxelles!”
the biggest problem with a duxelles baked in a tart, is that it cooks into a sort of a gray blob. delicious, but gray. some leftover baby spinach seemed like a good solution to give the filling some color and a little added flavor.
the nice thing about this recipe is that deconstructing the parts you can make tons of other things. flat breads, savory pies, tarte tatin, filling for ravioli, sauces for pasta, crepe filling, stuffing for veal breast or my new fave: duxelles in the middle of my gruyere grilled cheese sandwich!
1/2 cup (about 2 large) minced shallots (use a food processor, if possible)
1/2 small red onion, minced (use a food processor, if possible)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound fresh white and cremini mushrooms, minced (use a food processor, if possible)
1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps minced (use a food processor, if possible)
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1/4 cup white port or white vermouth
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, beaten lightly
2 ounces baby spinach, cut into a thin chiffonade or a fine chop.
salt and pepper to taste
a dash of worcestershire sauce, if you want an umami kick
3 to 4 medium fresh white or cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced with stems discarded
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- In a large heavy skillet or pot, cook garlic, shallots and onions in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add the minced white, cremini and shiitake mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste and cook mixture over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add vinegar and port wine and boil while stirring, until all liquid is evaporated. Congratulations, you’ve just made a duxelle of mushrooms! Add the spinach to the hot mushroom duxelle mixture and blend thoroughly. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool. Whisk together cream, egg, and add salt and pepper to taste Whisk this mixture into the cooled mushroom mixture. Filling may be made a few days ahead and chilled, covered.
- On a lightly floured surface roll out pastry to fit a tart pan. (I use a 9-inch round or square tart pan with a removable fluted rim and roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness.) Roll a rolling pin over the top of the pan to trim the pastry flush with top of rim. Very lightly prick holes in the bottom of shell and the spread filling evenly in the prepared shell. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. with a thin baking sheet set on the center rack.
- Thinly slice the white and cremini mushrooms. Then holding your knife at a 45°F. angle, thinly slice the shiitakes and arrange each type of mushroom overlapping decoratively on top of the filling. Sprinkle or spray the sliced mushrooms gently with the lemon juice.
- Bake with the tart pan set on the pre-heated baking sheet in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until filling is set and pastry is golden. Transfer tart in pan to a rack and cool to warm or room temperature. Remove rim before serving.