This special little appetizer can easily be served at breakfast, brunch or as a pre-dinner treat. I really like the way fruit and mushrooms work together — the earthiness of mushrooms is so well complemented by sweet fruit. In the summer, you could switch out the strawberries for figs, peaches, apricots or plums, and in the cooler months, pears and apples would be delicious. I don't use puff pastry often, but I like keeping it in the freezer to make something special now and then without having to make dough from scratch.
Listen to your leftovers and let them tell you what should be on this dish. Buy a few packs of store-bought puff pastry (each box comes with two sheets) and build your own tart, getting the kids and family members involved. Using this recipe as a base to riff on, there are three simple elements to keep in mind while building this leftover tart:
Creamy base: Spread the pastry with pumpkin seed pesto, creamed corn, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. to give the other toppings something to hold onto.
Textury goodness: Top your base with shredded or sliced turkey, green beans, sautéed mushrooms, leftover bacon from breakfast, ham or prime rib if you had a nontraditional meal, etc.
Fresh and bright finish: Top your tart with leftover cranberry sauce or preserves, fried herbs, pomegranate seeds, fresh-grated lemon zest, candied lemons and dressed arugula greens.
- 12 ounces assorted cultivated and wild mushrooms (like trumpet, maitake or hen of the woods, beech, oyster, button, cremini, chanterelle, porcini, morel, black trumpet and hedgehog)
- 2 tablespoons everyday olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- coarse sea salt (like Maldon)
- 1 (14-ounce) package puff pastry, thawed
- all-purpose flour, for dusting
- 8 ounces 3-milk soft, ripened cheese (like Robiola Tre Latte or a French triple crème), cut into roughly 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup hulled and quartered or halved ripe strawberries
- fresh ground black pepper
- coarse sea salt (like Maldon)
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water for the egg wash
For the funghi trifolati:1.
To prepare the mushrooms, cut or tear them into similar sizes and shapes; if small, leave them whole. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and let the oil heat up before adding the mushrooms. Add between one-third and one-half of the mushrooms — just enough to fill the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, then let the mushrooms do their thing; they are there to sear and caramelize until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Then stir once and sear on the other side, about 1 minute. Move the mushrooms to one side of the pan.2.
In the empty space in the pan, add 1/2 tablespoon of the oil, more mushrooms and the garlic cloves. Repeat cooking until golden brown, about 2 minutes, then stir and cook for another minute or so. If you still have mushrooms to cook, then push those to the side with the others, and add the remaining oil and mushrooms.3.
Once all the mushrooms are cooked, add the butter, rosemary and thyme. Let the butter and herbs baste and perfume the mushrooms for about 1 minute, gently stirring, until the mushrooms and butter begin to turn golden. Season with a few pinches of salt. Remove from the heat and let the mushrooms sit in the warm pan for 2 minutes to allow them to soak up all the goodness in the butter baste. Serve hot.
For the tart:1.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the puff pastry on a lightly floured cutting board. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it's about 12 by 15 inches. Using a paring knife, score the dough slightly, creating a 1-inch border around the perimeter of the rectangle. Using your rolling pin, roll the dough around the pin to help transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 20 minutes. (This is important when cooking puff pastry so that it bakes and puffs nicely. If it's totally thawed, I feel like it eats oily.)2.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Evenly spread the mushrooms over the inner rectangle of the dough, leaving the border clean. Feel free to place the herb sprigs from the funghi trifolati all over too. Top with the cheese, strawberries, some fresh cracked black pepper and a few pinches of sea salt. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash all over the dough border.3.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tart is golden, puffed and all that caramelized business. Let cool for 10 minutes, then cut and serve slightly warm. You can also make the tart 2 to 4 hours ahead and rewarm it in the oven for 5 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Listen to Your Vegetables by Sarah Grueneberg and Kate Heddings. Copyright © 2022 by Green Mountain Collection, LLC. Reprinted by permission of Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.