Monday, 6 April 2015

Magic Mushroom Pie!

Torta Salata ai Funghi, Pancetta, Pomodoro, Camembert & Erbe da Provenza
Oyster Mushroom, Bacon, Camembert & Tomato Tart with Herbs de Provence


It's the little things that matter... isn't that what they say? Well, this evening, this was the little thing that mattered to me and it was delicious!

It took very little by way of ingredients, only a little time to make, cost very little money and had me a little bit dizzy with how incredibly delicious it turned out to be!

So yes... it IS indeed sometimes the little things that matter! Or let me put it another way... sometimes you can make even the littlest things rather special if you put your mind to it!


Ok people- go buy a trayful of oyster mushrooms, grab a roll of puff-pastry whilst you're at it... and you are halfway there to having this wonderful dish put together. With just a few more everyday ingredients, you will have this ready with so little effort... you will be making it over and over! Word!


So here we are- the full ingredients! And this is why I despair when people claim it is too expensive to eat good, freshly made food... what on earth are you people spending your money on?

This little tart was big enough for 2 (or indeed for 4 appetizer-sized servings)- and all I needed was: 1 roll of puff-pastry, 1 tray of oyster mushrooms (2 handfuls), 1/2 of a Camembert cheese, 1 handful of finely diced bacon, 2 Spring onions, about 1 tablespoon of Herbs de Provence, salt, pepper, a little fresh parsley... and I didn't even need the whole of that single tomato!


And if you were thinking to yourself- "that isn't going to be enough!" ... take a look at this picture and tell me if that doesn't look like plenty of good eating right there?


Preparation? Well, there wasn't that much of it to be done, you will be pleased to hear!

I cut the larger mushrooms in half, chop the onions quite finely and sliced myself a few slices of tomato to lay decoratively on to later on. I cut the Camembert into slices, put my frying pan on the stove top and turned on the heat and whilst I was at it, turned on the oven... and then got started!


The mushrooms went into the frying pan dry- no oil, no butter- just plenty of heat and pepper! I let them get toasty from one side for 2-3 minutes and then flipped them over, ready for the other ingredients.


Once the mushrooms had begun to turn brown I added the chopped onion and bacon. I didn't add them right from the beginning, otherwise they would be too far-gone in their cooking before putting them into the pastry and would dry-out and burn in the oven during baking.


I then added a generous sprinkle of Herbs de Provence and everything together for 2-3 minutes, then set it to one side and allowed it to cool.


I then took a much smaller frying pan and laid out a circle of puff-pastry, which overlapped the edges by a couple of inches. I laid a little of the Camembert onto the bottom before beginning to add the filling- this would help to hold everything nicely in place once it began to bake.


Next, I laid out the mushrooms, nicely and evenly over the base.


Then came a little more cheese and all of the bacon and onion- and a few more bits of cheese on top. As you can see, I did not overdo it... there is no need and the result will not be better- this way you will have a nice, firm filling rather than one that will pour out all over. Unless you like that sort of thing... but not I!


Finally, those slices of tomato and the last of the cheese. Try not to put the cheese directly on top of the tomatoes, as you want them to cook through and become flavorful, rather than remaining too moist and watery. Sprinkle the tomato with salt and pepper, sprinkle everything with a last little bit of Herbs de Provence- and then get that pastry folded over so that you can get cracking!


Fold the pastry over, don't fuss- it will all puff-up in the oven anyway and be just fine any old how! And pop that little frying pan onto the stove top for 3-4 minutes before popping it into the oven to bake. As you well know by now- I love using this method to make sure pie and pizza bases get good direct heat to the base so that they are always a sure-fire success in a home oven.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until puffed up, crispy topped, golden brown and delicious!


Add a good sprinkle of chopped parsley for some color and freshness before serving- and prepare to enjoy a delicious slice of mushroom goodness!


The tomato adds a nice touch of color and juiciness, and the herbs, bacon and onion have all of the savory goodness you need to bring out the very best from those mushrooms! The cheese basically disintegrates but holds everything together nicely and its mild flavor blend all of the other flavors together wonderfully. This is just a very, very good thing!


A nice slice of this tart, a little green salad on the side, a glass of rose wine... and the Spring can begin! Now... I just wish that it would! But at least you can rely on the food if not the weather!

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