I love me some fungus.
Yessir, I do.
Portabella, Enoki, Field, Swiss Brown/Cremini, Wood Ear, Oyster, Porcini, Shimeji, King Brown, and even the king of umami – Shiitake (even though the idiotic 5yo child in me giggles and says ‘shit-takes’ in my head).
I’m not quite as much a mushroom lover as my mother (who will hoover any raw mushrooms within her grasp by the handful – she is to mushrooms what Dyson is to dog hair), but I do absolutely adore using them – whether it be in pasta, noodles, salads, sandwiches, soups or stews.
There’s a lot you can do with a mushroom.
That is why I squealed like a giddy schoolgirl when I was approached about participating in the first ever Mushroom Masters – a recipe competition with four rounds, each involving a different mushroom.
What better way to celebrate my love for fungi?
My mushroom ended up being the humble button mushroom, one of the most common and versatile mushrooms in the world, and this resulted in a weekend devoted to trying to come up with a glorious combination which would really show off this fantastic product.
Do you know how many button mushrooms there are in 2.5kg?
Neither do I, but I can say with absolute certainty that it is A LOT.
The below recipe for a mushroom & goat’s cheese tart wasn’t the one submitted to the competition, but it is an extremely tasty and easy recipe to make – and excellent ‘fast food’ for when you want something pretty darn tasty with minimal effort and fuss.
Mushroom & Goat’s Cheese Tart
400g button mushrooms, cleaned and thickly sliced (at least 1 – 1.5cm thick)
100g goat’s feta (or marinated goat’s cheese for something a bit more flavourful)
150g ricotta cheese
1 large egg
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large onion
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt & pepper, to taste
2-3 sheets puff pastry (this amount of mixture will make 2 large tarts or 1 large and about 8 small)
1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C, then mix together your ricotta and feta cheese with the egg and salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
2. Roughly chop the onion, then saute in about 1 tbsp melted butter, till softened and golden.
3. Drain the fried onion, then mix into the cheese along with the lemon juice and zest. Lay out a sheet of puff pastry and spread the cheese onto the middle, leaving a 3-4cm border around the edge.
4. Scatter the sliced mushrooms on top of the cheese mixture, then fold the edges up and brush with some olive oil or melted butter.
5. To make small tarts or hand-pies (whichever you want to cal them), cut out rounds of puff pastry with a cookie cutter, place a small amount of cheese mixture in the middle and top with a slice of mushroom. Lay another round of pastry on top, pinch the sides together and cut air holes into the top.
6. Place the tart onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 40-45 minutes (15-20 minutes for the small tarts) or till the pastry has puffed up and is golden brown. Serve warm or cool, with a sprinkling of parsley or chives!
DEAR READERS, RABID FANS (and not so rabid fans)
I need to ask you for your help.
You see, the Mushroom Masters competition is something I desperately want to win, despite there being no physical prize (only bragging rights).
I never win anything. EVER.
I’ve never won the lottery, never won a race, never won a raffle, never even won on a bloody $2 scratchie.
In fact, the first and last time I won anything was back in grade 5 in primary school when I placed second in a regional creative writing competition.
I want to win the Mushroom Masters so much that my teeth physically ACHE.
(here’s where the emotional blackmail starts…)
If you love me, and the thought of bringing the joy from a win to my sad little soul makes you smile, then please go to the following link and click to vote for my slow roasted mushroom lasange.
Just two clicks will help me inch closer to giving me the chance to running a victor’s lap (at least in my head) and go all stupid and gushy.
Mushroom Masters Round 2: www.tastespotting.com/features/button-battle-mushroom-masters-tournament-of-taste
And the actual recipe for the slow roasted mushroom lasagne: http://themightymushroom.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/lasagne-with-slow-roasted-mushrooms-and-goats-cheese/