December 20, 2005
Parmesan Mushroom Tarts

When holiday guests are in town, you need some tricks up your sleeve to keep the meals entertaining and tasty. Deliciously buttery puff pastry is the best of all these tricks.

I had two sheets of puff pastry left over from our dinner party. That's even after the cat walked through one of the other sheets. They're the standard sheet of letter-paper-sized puffs that come frozen. I also had two packages of portobello mushroom caps that we didn't use, which made for a quick meal that felt indulgent.

You'll notice there are two tarts in this post. Both have the same ingredients, but are built a little differently. One is closed with a pseudo-lattice crust and one is open to the world. Both are delicious. Don't make me choose which I like better.

Parmesan Mushroom Tarts

2 big portobello mushroom caps, cut in half, then cut into 3/4" strips
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed but still cool
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Cut two octagons out of the puff pastry. The octagons should use about 2/3 of each sheet of puff. Place these on a foil-lined baking pan.

From one set of trimmings, cut 1/2" strips about the size of the sides of the octagons. Lay 8 of these on top of the edges of the octagon. Repeat and build up the sides of the octagon, leaving a generous space in the middle that we'll fill later.

Roll the edges of the other hexagon slightly and prepare 1/2" strips as wide across as the tart from the scraps from the other sheet of puff. Sprinkle the bottom of each tart with 1/8 cup of parmesan cheese and set aside, away from the heat.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet until the butter foams. Add the mushrooms and salt lightly to encourage the mushrooms to relax. Sautee until the mushrooms are tender.

Add half the mushrooms(or as much as you can fit) into the center of each tart. Cover the tops of each with 1/8 cup Parmesan. Lay the strips for the second tart across the top of the mushrooms and pinch them to the sides of the tart in a grid formation. If you wish, sprinkle a little more Parmesan on the very top of the tart after laying the strips down.

Bake the tarts in a 425 oven for approximately 10-12 minutes until the puff pastry is golden. Let cool for three minutes before serving, and take the credit for a difficult-looking main course pastry.

Save leftover scraps of puff and one night, cut into strips, twist, bathe in sugar and cinnamon and bake for a quick dessert. Waste nothing.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at December 20, 2005 6:53 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

Man, oh, man! You just had to post this on a day when my lunch is expected to be mediocre at best. (Blame the coworker's choice of venue.) At least we're not returning to the office...

Posted by Monica on December 20, 2005 at 11:27 AM
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