22 October 2012

Hen of the Woods Bliss!

 So my friend and fellow harper, Patrick, is a mushroom hunter extraordinaire.   He's incredibly knowledgeable and so very generous with his mushroom hauls.  His lovely wife Donna was kind enough to personally deliver this beauty to me so I could use it while it was fresh.  I used half of it to make her mushroom tart recipe, and the other half in a pasta.

Saute the mushrooms with butter, herbs, finely chopped leeks, garlic, and season with salt.  For my tart shells on this particular evening, I just packed whole wheat bread onto the sides of some oiled ramekins.  A lot easier, and a lot healthier than pie crust, but not as tasty.  Up to you and your priorities really.  Mine shift often, but I was really hungry so I went with the fast option this night. 

When mushrooms have reduced, pack them tightly into tart shells, top with a generous amount of havarti cheese (or any other smooth melting cheese.) 

Bake the tarts at 350 F until cheese is well melted.  At this point, if you want, you can sprinkle on some garlic bread crumbs, which are simply panko toasted in a pan with garlic and olive oil and a little parsley.  I'm a crunch addict so I think it's a nice addition.  Then send them back into the oven to broil for a just a few minutes utnil lightly browned.  So good. 
 For the pasta, I coated the mushrooms in flour before sauteing them.  This made for a thin and crispy outer texture that is an improvement on plain sauteed mushrooms in my opinion.  

I sauteed them in butter and herbs from the garden - thyme and rosemary.  Typically, when I have awesome mushrooms I don't dress the pasta in much of anything beyond garlic and oil.  But I had a bunch of pesto leftover, so I used it to make a light pesto cream sauce.  It would be good with or without the sauce I think. 

I finished the dish once again with the garlic and parsley breadcrumbs for even more crunch.  I miss my giant mushroom now that it's gone.