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Wild Mushroom, Cheese and Sausage Tart

Wild Mushroom, Cheese and Sausage Tart
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         I have sung the praises of The East End Mushroom Company more than once.  I have the greatest affection for Jane Maguire and John Quigley who have put heart and soul into their company.  They now offer shiitake, maitake and blue oyster mushrooms grown right in their ‘farm’ in Cutchogue, NY.  And they very often ‘import’ other seasonal varieties for the “Mushroom Capital of the World”, Kennett Square, PA. These include more exotics like Velvet Pioppinis, White/Brown Beeches, along with more familiar Creminis and Portobellos. Their mushrooms are so good, I constantly keep an eye out for any recipe requiring mushrooms just so I can use them.  Now they’ve started selling dried mushrooms. Go to their website, www.theeastendmushroomcompany.com and see how you can buy their mushrooms.  They make a great gift for all the cooks on your list.  Or save them for yourself.  Then you can come home and make this tart, of my own invention, I am happy to say, with their terrific mushrooms. Wild Mushroom, Cheese and Sausage Tart.  You can cut the finished in quarters and serve it for lunch or a light supper. Or you can cut it into two-inch squares and make a perfect hors d’oeuvre for holiday entertaining.

Mushrooms that are grown, as opposed to foraged, have one enormous advantage over their wild cousins.  They require little or no cleaning, an arduous task usually done with a soft brush.  For years, conventional wisdom said not to wash mushrooms because they would take on additional moisture.  But mushrooms themselves are 80 percent water already so their ability to absorb more came into question.   Now it’s believed it’s perfectly fine to give them a quick bath and then a spin in a salad spinner before you cut them.  But never bathe cut mushrooms because nothing will turn them slimy faster.   
         For this recipe, I first removed the sausage from its casing and broke it up as I put it into 12 inch non-stick skillet.  I made the mushroom sauté separately then tossed the sausage and mushrooms together. The puff pastry should be defrosted per the instructions. It usually takes 35 minutes.  If you defrost any longer, it’s hard to manipulate the dough. (I found out the hard way).  The dough has to be pre-cooked or the base will not rise and you’ll have a soggy-bottomed tart.   Then it’s a matter of spreading the mushroom sausage over the partially cooked dough, sending it back into the oven and finally, in the last couple of minutes, spreading the grated cheese over the top of the mixture. Here is the recipe:

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