Flakey tart shells filled with sweet potato or pumpkin puree and topped with grilled or fried mushrooms.
I came across a picture for a beautifully plated, grilled ‘Hen of the Woods‘ (aka Maitake) mushroom months ago. These are inexpensive where I live and so I started grilling them. Maitake have a wonderful mouthfeel and are full of umami; I wanted to turn them into a healthy, inexpensive meal, and so started making them into tarts. Here the tarts are put on a puree of sweet potato or winter melon (I use Japanese kabocha) to fix the mushrooms into place in the tart while adding a new texture and layer of flavors.
For the Mushrooms
Size varies by location. Any mushroom will work but we enjoy maitake and shimeji mushrooms because they grow as a unit and are much easier to shape because of it.
- In a well oiled iron fry pan, layer your mushrooms.
- Salt to taste.
- Cover them with something heavy (such as a smaller fry pan) and put them on high heat for five minutes and check. They will be fully cooked. Cook them to your desired color and texture.
- Flip the mushrooms and cook till they reach the color and texture you want
Sweet Potato Filling
Sweet potatoes are delicious in savory dishes. A steamed sweet potato has more moisture and, in my experience, is easier to work with. But you can make a delicious filling with a baked sweet potato.
- 1 large sweet potato (about 400 -600 grams), steamed or roasted.
- Salt to taste
- Up to ¼ butter or up to ¼ cream
- ½ tsp cumin or ½ tsp each thyme and tarragon
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Up to ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- Puree the sweet potato in a food processor with the salt and any combination of options ingredients (except the walnuts) and process until smooth.
- Mix in the optional walnuts, if using, after the sweet potatoes are pureed.
- Layer the bottom of a tart shell
- Layer on top of the shell grilled mushrooms and any other roasted vegetables you like.
Winter Squash/Kabocha Puree
If you can not find Japanese squash in your markets, a pumpkin, butternut or other winter squash will do nicely.
- 400 – 600 grams of Winter Squash/Kabocha, steamed or roasted
- Salt to taste
- Up to ¼ cup butter
- ¼-½ tsp chilie powder
- roasted garlic (to taste) and ½ tsp thyme
- 1 tsp sherry vinegar
- Up to ¼ cup walnuts
- Puree your steamed or roasted squash with salt and whatever combination of the optional ingredients you like (except the walnuts).
- Mix in the optional walnuts, if using, after the squash is pureed.
- Layer in the bottom of a tart shell and layer with mushrooms and your favorite roasted vegetables.
After you’ve made your fillings, simply spread one of your fillings into a tart shell and layer the mushrooms on top. I add lots of other roasted vegetables to make pleasing presentations.