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.
- * I like to snap the woody ends of Aspargus, then really finely slice the woody bits only leaving out the very hard bit on the end. That way you get more asparagus to sprinkle over the tart!