This easy tart is a riff on Ottolenghi’s Mushroom tart that I made for Christmas this year. His recipe calls for slowly poaching a whole Portobello mushroom in a fragrant broth before layering it over feta whipped in with harissa & serving it with a pine nut & parsley sauce. It’s utterly divine, and perfect for a vegetarian to eat at Christmas as the mushroom poaches along in the oven at the same time you’re cooking meat and things for the non-veggies. You can find the recipe here . I highly recommend mushroom lovers to try it at least once!
For picnic or a quick summery after work dinner however it’s a bit of a faff. But I remembered the flavours, and thought if I added some asparagus & instead of slowly poaching the mushrooms, just layering them on top, it would lighten up the dish and make it more seasonal. And I was spectacularly right!
I used shop bought, puff pastry for this. Unlike my maternal grandmother, or my youngest brother, it seems I don’t have a talent for making my own pastry. Possibly I just need to try harder. In any case, there never seems to be much point when it’s so easy to buy ready-made, and (for me at least) it’s a far superior product to what I can make. Plus it’s quicker. I do like taking the easy option if there is a sensible one going.
I’ve made a similar tart recently too, however it was more of an emergency last-minute type thing when we had a guest staying unexpectedly & not much in the way of food left in the house. I looked in despair at the cupboards & used a tin of artichokes that I had bought on a whim at Lidl ( yes- Lidl!) a block of feta and some thyme from the garden. I keep puff pastry sheets in the freezer for exactly this kind of emergency. They take an hour or so to defrost, but chuck a few ingredients on top, with some herbs & cheese and you have a pretty & impressive looking tart, with next to no effort.
This is the emergency tart I made!
Serve with salads, and if you’re hungry, some crusty bread.
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 6-7 large chestnut mushrooms , sliced
- 8 asparagus stalks , woody ends snapped off and sliced in two*
- 3/4 block of feta
- 1 -2 teaspoons harissa (depending on how spicy you like food!)
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 5-6 sprigs thyme
Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 7/
Line a baking sheet with baking paper
Lay the pastry out on the baking paper and score a line all the way around to form a border to be the 'crust'
Mix the feta, harissa & lemon juice together until combined
Spread the feta mix evenly over the pastry inside the border.
Lay the mushrooms & asparagus evenly over the feta mix.
Sprinkle with the thyme.
Brush a little warm water over the edges to give a bit of gloss to the pastry
Bake in the oven for 15 mins or until it looks golden.
Serve immediatly or as part of a picnic or mezze spread.