It’s official. Winter is in full swing. Whether you’re the kind of person that blares the Mele Kalikimaka from your cockpit speakers or not, one thing is certain: You’re probably looking for a way to maximize the punch of the holiday dishes you prepare while minimizing the amount of time and effort it takes you.
This tart does just that. It’s got that warm, hearty feeling that will fill you and your dinner guests up (without having to make several different sides!), brightened by the inclusion of apple cider vinegar and a quick finishing of lemon zest. The use of frozen puff pastry gives it a certain decadence while also simplifying the cooking process – just thaw the pre-made puffed pastry and shape it into a rectangle before piling high with pan-seared toppings and baking for just 30 minutes.
This recipe is also one of those recipes that can have multiple substitutions depending on what you have available and it’ll still be delicious. For example, puff pastry is widely available in the freezer section of markets in the US, the French Islands, and the Med; however, if you can’t find puff pastry where you are, a quick homemade pie dough, or even a few slices of rustic toast, would work just fine. I’ve included spinach in the recipe, though almost any green – such as kale, mustard greens, even sliced fennel – would round out the dish in a satisfying way. Looking for a vegetarian option? Simply omit the sausage. The mushrooms can carry through the umami flavor on their own just fine.
Wherever you are this winter season – from the tropics and beyond – we hope it’s full of warmth and brightness and, of course, plenty of sundowners. Cheers, Leopard family!
Mushroom, Goat Cheese, and Greens Tart
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
1 sheet of puff pastry, roughly 9 ounces, thawed to room temperature
2 tablespoons of butter
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces of mushrooms, chopped roughly
5 cups of fresh greens such as spinach or mustard greens, roughly 5 ounces
6 ounces of andouille or italian sausage, casings removed (optional)
1-2 teaspoons of salt, depending on taste
½ small log of goat cheese, approximately 2 ounces
½ lemon, zests only (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place thawed puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat mat or parchment paper. Depending on the shape of the puff pastry, you may need to gently stretch it so that it forms a rectangle of roughly 12”x 8”. If it begins to tear, stop stretching and patch the tear by tabbing it with wet fingertips. Fold the outer edges of the pastry inward so that it forms a lip of about ½” around the perimeter of the pastry. Seal corners with a bit of water, using your fingertips. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
Melt butter in a medium-sized skillet set over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until they soften and begin to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes. Increase heat to high and add apple cider vinegar to the pan, toss to coat. Once most of the liquid has cooked off, use a slotted spoon to transfer cooked onions to a medium sized bowl. Set bowl aside, keeping skillet on stove over high heat.
Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Once oil is very hot and shimmery, add mushrooms. Let mushrooms cook in skillet, undisturbed, until their bottoms begin to turn brown and golden, about 8 minutes. Don’t stir them during this time as you’re trying to create a sear on the bottom of the mushrooms to deepen flavors. Once bottom of mushrooms have turned a dark caramel color, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the bowl with the onions.
Next, add spinach to the skillet and toss frequently until just starting to wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Remove spinach with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl with the mushrooms and onions. Pour out any residual liquids that may have accumulated from the spinach.
If using sausage, reduce heat to medium and form meat into small meat patties roughly 1-inch in diameter. They don’t have to be perfectly shaped, rough is fine. Sear bottoms in skillet until well browned, about 3-4 minutes, adding more oil if you feel the pan is beginning to dry out. Use a spatula to break up the meat patties into smaller ground meat pieces and sauté for another 1-2 minutes, or until meat is thoroughly cooked through. Transfer to the bowl with the spinach and mushrooms. Toss contents of bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Dot puff pastry with goat cheese and then pour contents of the bowl into the inside of the rectangle, smoothing out evenly and making sure to keep folded edges clear. If you care about a shinier crust, you may opt to brush the edges of the puff pastry with egg white or you can leave bare (it won’t affect the flavor, just the final presentation.) Bake in pre-heated oven until edges are golden, about 30-40 minutes. Garnish with a quick dusting of lemon zest for brightness (optional).
Tart can be made up to 2 days in advance, wrapped in plastic or foil wrap, and refrigerated. Simply re-crisp in oven just before serving.