This is the time of year when I start craving savory tarts. Last weekend I found myself with a bowl of beautiful Cipollini onions and had been wanting to try some organic cultivated mushrooms I came across, so I decided that instead of throwing them on the grill like everything else these last few months, I'd throw it all into a tart shell along with some leftover homemade ricotta cheese that we had somehow managed not to eat.
The recipe is loosely based on one by Suzanne Goin in her magnificent book, Sunday Suppers at Lucques. It sounds a little complicated, but it's not. As long as you an hour or so, and most of the ingredients, it's really not much of a challenge. No Cipollini? Pity, but substitute in some sweet yellow onions or even purple onions, and slice into wedges, then roast as instructed.
For mushrooms, I used a mixture of Golden Gourmet's organic cultivated mushrooms: Brown and White Beech, Enoki, King Trumpet (giant, definitely needed to be sliced!), and Maitakes, a variety not often seen cultivated.
Cipollini Onion and Mushroom Tart
makes one 9-inch tart
For the crust:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes 2 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
1 pound Cipollini onions, peeled and quartered 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 tablespoons butter 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1 1/2 pounds mixed wild or cultivated mushrooms, 1 egg yolk (reserve egg white for topping, see below) 3/4 cup ricotta cheese 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 1/4 cup chives
For the topping:
1 egg white 1/4 cup cream 1/4 cup Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
To make the dough, place the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse. Drop in butter, pulse until like oatmeal. Add ice water and pulse once or twice, until more dough-like. Turn onto a floured board and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and remove the root end from the onions. Place them in a pie dish or small roaster, toss with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast until the onions are soft and begin to color but still hold their shape, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
When pastry dough has chilled, roll out onto a lightly floured surface to a roughly 12" diameter circle. Gently lay into a tart ring, and fit into the ring evenly. Pierce bottom with a fork and return to refrigerator to chill.
Slice any mushrooms larger than 2" long. Over medium flame, melt the butter. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and saut&eactue; for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, mix egg yolk, ricotta, olive oil, Parmesan, and chives. Remove tart shell from refrigerator. Spread mixture evenly in bottom of tart shell. Nestle onions evenly across ricotta base. Scatter mushrooms in between onions.
In a small bowl beat egg white, cream and Parmesan. Pour mixture evenly over top of onion and mushroom filling.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 15 minutes, until top is bubbling and crust is slightly brown, but not too dark.