Friday, August 26, 2011

Mushroom Tart in Potato Crust

I love this recipe. I found it in a newspaper somewhere as a new bride. Those were the days where I would leave my husband with meals for every night I was traveling for business. Those days are long gone. But guilt that he was a new medical student and studying hard and would come home to an empty fridge (while I was out having expensive business dinners), motivated me to spend time in the kitchen for him. Making this mushroom potato tart reminds me of coming home from a business trip to our first modest apartment down by the Mississippi River, and settling down to eat with Cort at my in-laws' old table (man do I miss that table--it's been making the rounds in the family), venting about the cost of textbooks, laughing at how the groundskeeper cracked another one of our windows while mowing, not answering the phone, and promising ourselves the best was yet to come.

So if you want a good and easy meal, try this tart. Every time we eat it, we ask why we don't make it more often. I've gotten to the point that I don't even measure the mushrooms, onions, or cheese--it's quite forgiving. This mushroom potato tart makes for a delicious vegetarian dinner when paired with a crisp green salad, a hunk of bread, some roast asparagus, and a lovely Chardonnay. Or just have it for breakfast with some turkey bacon or sausages and sliced strawberries. Or take it to work the next day for lunch. We love it. Hope you do too!

Makes approximately 6 servings
  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 6 scallions, sliced or 4 big shallots, diced
  • 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper (salt is optional--but it depends how salty your feta is-I like to add a few dashes)
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. assorted mushrooms (white, cremini, shiitake, and oyster), sliced (about 3 cups)--you can use just one kind too--baby portabellas are particularly good
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped, or dried Italian seasoning works really great!

Place a baking sheet on the middle shelf of the oven and heat oven to 475 degrees.
Spray a 12-inch tart pan with removable bottom, or a 12-inch pizza pan, with butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray. (I've never tried it in a pizza pan)

Combine potatoes, half the scallions (or shallots), half the parmesan, and half the pepper in a large bowl.

Stir in half the eggs and mix until well blended. Spread the potato mixture evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Put the tart on the preheated baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over high heat; add the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in the feta, milk, thyme and remaining scallions, Parmesan, pepper and eggs. Pour the mushroom mixture into the potato crust and bake for 10-15 minutes or until set.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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