- 1 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 12 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
- 1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
- 1/2 cup (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 2 ounces)
- Fresh thyme sprigs (for garnish)
Roll out each pastry sheet on work surface to 10-inch square. Cut each into 4 squares. Using small knife, score 1/2-inch border (do not cut through pastry) around inside edges of each square. Arrange squares on 2 rimmed baking sheets. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sauté until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to large bowl; cool 15 minutes. Add asparagus, chopped thyme, lemon peel, 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mushrooms. Mix in crème fraîche and cheese. DO AHEAD Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400°F. Mound filling atop pastry squares, leaving 1/2-inch plain border.
Bake tarts 12 minutes. Reverse sheets. Continue to bake tarts until crusts are puffed and golden and filling is cooked through, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to plates; garnish with thyme sprigs.
|10||sheets|| phyllo (filo) pastry sheets |
|3||tablespoons|| olive oil |
|12||ounces|| mushrooms |
|1||teaspoon|| kosher salt |
|½||teaspoon|| black pepper |
freshly ground, divided
|1||pound|| asparagus |
slender, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
|1 ½||teaspoons|| thyme |
|1 ½||teaspoons|| lemon zest |
|½||cup|| ricotta cheese |
|½||cup|| swiss cheese |
| thyme sprigs |
|10||sheets|| phyllo (filo) pastry sheets |
|45||ml|| olive oil |
|346,8||ml/g|| mushrooms |
|5||ml|| kosher salt |
|2,5||ml|| black pepper |
freshly ground, divided
|453,6||g|| asparagus |
slender, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
|7,5||ml|| thyme |
|7,5||ml|| lemon zest |
|118||ml|| ricotta cheese |
|118||ml|| swiss cheese |
|1||x|| thyme sprigs |
Mini Mushroom Tarts
These easy puff pastry tarts filled with mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and fresh rosemary make a great appetizer for any occasion!
I don’t know about you, but I’m a little cookie-d out right about now. I’ll go back to cookie baking tomorrow, but today I’m all about this savory appetizer.
It’s just frozen puff pastry, 6 other basic ingredients, and a muffin pan. That’s it! Mushroom lovers will go crazy for these mini tarts, and they’re bound to be a hit at your next party or gathering. Dress them up with a pretty platter and some garnishes for your fanciest holiday party, or serve them straight from the oven as-is for game day.
Baking tip:Choosing the Right Store-bought Puff Pastry
There are two main brands of store-bought puff pastry available in the United States: DuFour and Pepperidge Farm. DuFour can typically be found in specialty food stores for more than double the cost of Pepperidge Farm. However, DuFour is made with all butter and has slightly better flavor and texture. Pepperidge Farm is made with shortening, but is significantly cheaper and available at practically any grocery store. While DuFour is the better product, I have used Pepperidge Farm on many occasions with success.
- Flour, for work surface
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- 5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Canola or olive oil cooking spray
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup grated Asiago cheese
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cups chopped baby bella mushrooms
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups thinly sliced asparagus (from 1 bunch)
- 24 wonton wrappers
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup prepared pesto
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray.
Whisk milk and flour in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until bubbling and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in Asiago and pepper to taste.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot, mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid, 3 to 5 minutes. Add asparagus and cook, stirring, until just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
Place a wonton wrapper into the bottom and partway up the sides of each muffin cup. Combine ricotta and pesto in a medium bowl. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the ricotta mixture into each muffin cup. Spread about 2 teaspoons of the Asiago sauce over the ricotta and top with about 1 tablespoon of the vegetable mixture. Place another wonton wrapper over the filling, pressing down gently to form a "cup." The corners of the wrappers will stick up, forming 4 little points. Repeat with another layer of the ricotta mixture, Asiago sauce and vegetables. Coat the tops with cooking spray.
Bake the mini lasagnas until the tips of the wonton wrappers are golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen and remove with a paring knife. Serve warm.
Mushroom and Gruyère tart
A great vegetarian Christmas dinner option - the rich mushrooms are perfect with gravy, and gruyère feels a bit special and worthy of your Christmas plate. The strong flavours mean any leftovers are delicious the following day too.
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This dish would be a great vegetarian Christmas dinner option - the rich mushrooms are perfect with gravy, and since gruyère is a little more expensive than a lot of cheeses, it feels a bit special and worthy of your Christmas plate. It's just the thing to have pride of place in the middle of the table, so everyone can go back for an extra slice whenever they fancy (probably every few minutes, considering how tasty this was!).
Perhaps my favourite thing about this tart is that it's just as nice cold as it is warm, so if any slices manage to escape the Christmas dinner table uneaten, they'll make a great lunch the next day with salad and coleslaw, and perhaps a slice of bread. I didn't bother to reheat mine, and it was still absolutely delicious - in fact, if anything the flavours are even stronger when the tart is cold.
Putting together this tart is really easy - I used shop-bought shortcrust pastry, so all I needed to do was to roll it out nice and thin, and then blind bake it for twenty minutes or so while I prepared the filling ingredients. Of course you could make your own pastry if you prefer, but I see no shame in using some shop-bought ingredients every now and then.
The first layer of the tart is my secret ingredient - a layer of mushroom pâté. This helps the tart to stay nice and fluffy, as well as ensuring that the rich mushroom flavour is present throughout its whole depth. The pâté is then covered with a thin layer of egg, fresh parsley, sautéed mushrooms, and finally the gruyère cheese, which provides a nice melty topping.
I'll definitely be making this mushroom and gruyère tart again next Christmas - it's easy to put together, and its versatility means that it can be served for lunch, dinner - or even your main Christmas feast.
First, make the pastry by rubbing the butter and lard lightly into the flour, then add the cheese and salt, plus enough cold water to make a smooth dough – about a tablespoon.
Then place the dough in a plastic food bag to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. After that, roll it out and line the tin with it. Be careful to press the dough firmly into the tin. Prick the base all over with a fork, then pre-bake in the oven for 20 minutes. After that, paint the inside of it with a little of the beaten egg (from the filling ingredients) and let it cook in the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Take each stalk in both hands and bend and snap off the woody end, then arrange the spears in a steamer and steam over simmering water for 4-5 minutes (just to half-cook them). Then chop the spears into 1½ inch (4 cm) lengths and arrange them over the base of the pre-baked pastry case. Next, beat the eggs together with the cream and grated Cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper, then pour this mixture over the asparagus. Finally, sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.
Place the tart on the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes – until the centre feels firm and the filling is golden brown and puffy.
Want some more breakfast ideas? Before we get to the recipe, here are some more quiche and breakfast recipes for you:
This asparagus and goat cheese quiche has a hashbrown crust.
And here is a Cheeseburger Quiche with a tater tot crust!
You might want to try these Eggs in Poblano Pepper Boats (which can be made in just 10 minutes).
Want something sweet to serve along side the quiche? This Berry Stuffed French Toast comes together with just 10 minutes of active preparation time.
First make the pastry: remove a pack of butter from the fridge, weigh out 3 oz (75 g), then wrap it in a piece of foil and return it to the freezer or freezing compartment of the fridge for 30-45 minutes.
Then, when you are ready to make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a large, roomy bowl. Take the butter out of the freezer, fold back the foil and hold it in the foil, which will protect it from your warm hands. Then, using the coarse side of a grater placed in the bowl over the flour, grate the butter, dipping the edge of the butter on to the flour several times to make it easier to grate. What you will end up with is a large pile of grated butter sitting in the middle of the flour. Now take a palette knife and start to distribute the gratings into the flour – don't use your hands yet, just keep trying to coat all the pieces of fat with flour. Now sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of cold water all over, continue to use the palette knife to bring the whole thing together, and finish off using your hands. If you need a bit more moisture, that's fine – just remember that the dough should come together in such a way that it leaves the bowl fairly clean, with no bits of loose butter or flour anywhere. Now pop it into a polythene bag and chill for 30 minutes before using.
Meanwhile, whiz the fresh and soaked mushrooms and shallots in a food processor till finely chopped. Now melt the butter in a medium-sized pan over a high heat, add the mushroom mixture, nutmeg and seasoning, reduce the heat and gently sauté for 20-25 minutes, until all the juices have evaporated. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick and cut out six rounds with the cutter, re-rolling the pastry if necessary. Now line each tin with the pastry, pushing it down from the tops so the pastry doesn't shrink during cooking. Trim the pastry around the tops to ¼ inch (5 mm) and prick the bases with a fork, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C). Now place the tins on the baking sheet and bake on the top shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. (All this can be done well in advance. The mushroom mixture should be cooled, then covered and stored in the fridge, and the pastry cases carefully removed from their tins and stored in an airtight container. The Foaming Hollandaise can also be made in advance and kept at room temperature.)
Then, in a medium-sized frying pan half filled with boiling water from the kettle, you can begin to poach the eggs. Place the pan over a gentle heat and have a bowl of cold water ready. Now, as soon as the pan has fine bubbles all over the base, make a slit in 6 quails' eggs with a small serrated knife, carefully slipping the eggs in to poach. Put a timer on for 1½ minutes, then, after this time and using a draining spoon, remove them, starting with the first one that went in. Transfer them to the bowl of cold water, then repeat the whole process twice until all the eggs are poached.
With everything ready – the mushroom filling, the tartlet cases, the Foaming Hollandaise and the poached eggs – you can now assemble the tartlets.
When you are ready to serve the tartlets, pre-heat the grill to its highest setting. Next, place the tartlet cases on a baking sheet, cover with foil and pop them under the grill 6 inches (15 cm) from the heat to warm through for 5 minutes. Then, while this is happening, re-heat the mushroom mixture in a small saucepan and get it really hot. Then fill the pastry cases with the mushroom mixture and top each one with 3 quails' eggs, using a draining spoon and a wodge of kitchen paper to drain off any water. Next spoon the Foaming Hollandaise over, then pop the whole lot back under the grill again, at least 6 inches (15 cm) from the heat, and watch like a hawk – it should take only 30 seconds for the sauce to warm through and brown slightly. Then switch the grill off and serve on warm plates as quickly as possible.
Asparagus and Parmesan tarts
Stand facing the average newsstand lately and it’s hard not to think American food magazines are speeding downhill in a Rachael Ray sled, with Paula Deen pushing. The more-sizzle-than-steak stars of the Food Network have their own new titles but emulate the worst excesses of the older magazines, such as chef-worshipping Food & Wine with its cover story on Bobby Flay’s calculated “Savannah soul” or Bon Appetit’s endless spreads of impossibly cheery-looking parties staged for the camera. Besides, “yum” is just not an adjective for anyone over 5.
Check out a better-than-average newsstand, though, and there are signs of intelligence in the monthly food universe. A handful of magazines from overseas are increasingly gaining a pinkie-hold here, and at their best they actually bring a worldly sophistication to the table. A few may share American publishing’s unhealthy obsession with big names from the small screen, but at least they are not idolizing the usual American suspects -- not one kneels before Molto Anyone.
Titles such as Donna Hay Magazine, Fresh and Olive deliver not just recipes never to be seen in the myriad food magazines in this country, and not just because Australia is on a totally different schedule (it’s fall there) and England is on a different taste system (they favor both traditional mushy peas and state-of-the-art offal there).
These magazines also have strikingly different photography styles and editorial features they are far less prone to patent fakery, and -- most important to anyone weary to the point of pain from all those GE Profile kitchen pages in every American food magazine -- they include unfamiliar products in the advertising pages. (Maybe we will never taste wine varietal vinegars from Margaret River in Australia, but we can fantasize.)
Even better at a tense time for national self-esteem, imported food magazines nicely convey how the rest of the world sees us. Food is neutral territory in politics, and the coverage is always upbeat on American restaurants to try, wines to drink (Fresh recommends Ravenswood Vintners Blend Chardonnay as well as the Boulders Pinot Grigio, and even Gallo’s white Zinfandel), recipes to emulate (crab tacos in Fresh, half a world away).
What are the “gastro temples” of the United States? They include, according to Australian Gourmet Traveller (“voted world’s best food magazine 2005"), Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, a restaurant subjected to surprisingly biting commentary (for every admirer, “there’s another who claims that the emperor wears no clothes”). The same magazine touts Thomas Keller’s “Bouchon” and Ruth Reichl’s “Garlic and Sapphires,” among its book recommendations.
Not surprisingly, food magazines from countries where English is written are making the greatest inroads here. England and Australia are clearly the top exporters, and New Zealand may follow eventually.
Titles in French and Italian are also easily available, but the audience has to be about as big as the one the Food Network would attract for a series on Ferran Adria. It’s hard enough to translate recipe quantities from metric to imperial without risking confusion between zucca and zucchero, or frais and fraiche.
The most appealing of the imports is the new BBC magazine, Olive (recipes, restaurants, travel). Graphically, it’s a cross between Gourmet and Martha Stewart Living, with clean and simple layouts of food stories combined with pages on pages of featurettes on things to buy and places to go and tastes to try content-wise it’s livelier than both, undoubtedly because of its debt to relatively good-quality television.
A feature on an “omelet Olympics” pits a Frenchman (Michel Roux Jr.) against a “Brit” (Jeremy Lee) and an Italian (Antonio Carlucci), judged by a BBC “presenter.” The winner? You need to ask? Who invented the omelet?
Other enterprising features cover where restaurant critics eat (Nicholas Lander of the Financial Times discloses that his favorite is Ransome’s Dock in London, and drops the name of his wife, the wine writer Jancis Robinson) and dueling reviews by a critic and a “punter” (the punter being a 35-year-old copywriter who lapses into menu-speak).
What they have to say is not as fascinating as the fact that they give the same ratings for service (6 out of 10) and food (5 out of 10) and are only one point off in total score (the amateur is less generous).
Faces familiar from the telly do pop up in big spreads, particularly Gordon Ramsay doing a rant, but are redeemed by tantalizing recipes: lemon ricotta cake, cardamom creme brulee, eggs poached in tomato sauce. (All, unfortunately, are measured in metric, but maybe that should be an incentive to learn how the rest of the world measures.)
Almost as appealing as Olive is Donna Hay Magazine, even though the Australian media mogul nearly out-Marthas Martha Stewart. Even that kitchen dominatrix would never suggest baking cookies in button shapes and tying them together with thread through the holes. The occasional obsessive silliness aside, the magazine is cleanly designed, gorgeous and opinionated and also has a feature called “Every Day” that does not conjure Rachael Ray at all.
A smart feature on how to garnish illustrates particularly well how many little things American magazines neglect in their rush to the microwave: Something as effortless as shallow-fried capers or strips of nori would liven up a dish far more dramatically than a sprig of parsley.
Hay’s gift is making exquisite food look as easy as ready-made pie crust. Her salt-and-pepper squid is simple and direct: Toast Sichuan peppercorns, chilies and other spices, grind them, mix half with rice flour to coat calamari scored with a sharp knife, then serve the rest with the rings and tentacles after they have been deep-fried for a minute or two. She also exhibits the usual Australian bent for Asian ingredients incorporated into the most Western-looking menu, such as in chicken baked with five-spice powder.
On the plus side, recipe measurements are translated. On the negative side, the party pictures are undeniably fake.
Australian Gourmet Traveller, at least the most recent issue on sale, which is from Christmas, is a magazine for now, with recipes for foods just coming into season in this hemisphere, such as a mint, melon and prosciutto salad. Recipes (yes, measured in metric) often feature ingredients not common in Cook’s Illustrated, such as eel.
The writing can be exceptional, not to mention as frank as a blog. The notoriously caustic London restaurant critic A.A. Gill starts a piece on a trip to Baghdad, his return to “the Garden of Eden,” by noting that “Adam and Eve were the first refugees. The very first people ever were the first asylum seekers.” Nor does a piece on the new popularity of roses in Australia and in Europe pull punches, even as a sidebar offers smart recommendations for the pink wines in question (including “Bloodwood’s marvellously irreverent Big Men in Tights”).
Noting that rose is finally catching on, the writer, Max Allen, wonders which deserves more credit: “the backing of the booze hacks, the winemakers desperate to flog more booze or the big companies trying to tap into the youth market?”
Fresh is a magazine for readers who care about the seasons but not graphic design. It’s also for cooks who want to make their own jam and pickles, and are not put off by the sight of cows on the hoof and on the plate, side by side. The May issue includes the features “In Season,” “Slow Food” and “From Field to Table” (bread, starting with the grains) and reviews of websites selling fresh fish.
My favorite sidebar, alongside a feature on the world’s best spread for bread, was titled “Why Eat Butter,” with all the encouraging nutritional reasons lined up. Another feature, a very clinical one on “offal-y tasty meat,” is not for the faint of stomach -- no gauzy filter was on the lens that captured the liver, in particular -- but it is just the ticket for anyone who ever wondered what “pluck” and “lights” are (“the wobbly bits” -- lung, hearts and liver).
Other than splendid disorientation, the downsides to magazines from far-flung kitchens are few. Interestingly for a magazine that celebrates the origins of food, many of Fresh’s recipes are sponsored -- the ones for Jarlsberg cheese are credited to “Culinary Institute of Norway,” and those for Indian dishes and vegetables are from promoters too. And after 138 pages of advocating fresh, clean and thoughtful food, down to a huge listing of all the farmers markets in England, the back page is an ad for industrial Danish bacon.
These are not exactly dollar meals: One copy of Australian Gourmet Traveller costs $10.95, almost as much as an introductory year’s subscription to Bon Appetit. The publications can lag months behind American magazines. And they have an intangible problem: Many of the new foods and tools they tout look tempting but are not available in the United States. With an ad, you don’t mind fantasizing when you’re ready to buy, it’s frustrating.
In the end, foreign food magazines can be like trips abroad. They may not be everything you expected, but they will open your eyes. What could say more about our world during the first decade of the 21st century than a feature about an Australian chef cooking in Thailand at a restaurant specializing in Moroccan food?