Friday, March 5, 2010

chanterelles + flaky crust = paradise

You hear people say that Santa Barbara is paradise, especially people from Santa Barbara. Now, I'm a firm believer in the fact that each person's paradise is their own, especially having grown up in the Northwest and loving everything about it (yes, even the rain).

However, when a friend came by the other day wielding a paper sack FULL of local chanterelle mushrooms, well I couldn't help but think "I guess Santa Barbara is paradise," (I mean we have 70 degree weather 362 days out of the year and chanterelles grow here - I'm sold!) and then proceeded to make a mental list of all of the deliciously decadent ways I could prepare these little pillows of goodness.

 The mighty Chanterelle

Now anyone unfamiliar with the Chanterelle, you need to try them now. Even if you're not a fan of mushrooms, these are different. Chanterelles are a light orange color and have flat tops and have not one, but two soul mates - cream and garlic.Yes, they can be a little expensive, but you don't need a whole lot of them to impart a ton of flavor.

I think that my favorite way to prepare chanterelles is in a cream sauce for pasta, but this time I decided to do something different. This time I decided to make a tart with them and combine them with the lovely head of cauliflower that I received in my box this week. Now the challenge of being able to whip up a tart after work on a school night is being able to make a good enough crust in a small enough amount of time. After some searching around, I've found a recipe (see below) that is super simple and is flaky and tasty after only an hour's chilling time.


Next, an important thing to note about all mushrooms is that they are like 99% water (not really, but you get the gist). That means that they either need to be sweated first or your method of cooking them either calls for the mushroom water (as in pasta sauce) or your going to cook it down sufficiently enough. For this tart I chose to pre-saute the mushroom so as to get rid of as much of the water as possible. That way I didn't end up with goopy tart.

 like i said, paradise

The rest from there is just tossing the ingredients into the pan, letting the flavors infuse and popping it into a tart shell...couple that with a nice glass of Chardonnay and you've got paradise just about anywhere...


pate brise (shortcrust pastry)
for a 9-10 inch tart/pie

1 1/4 cups of flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
5-8 Tbsp iced water
*if you want to make a sweet crust, add 1 Tbsp sugar in with the dry ingredients

- put dry ingredients into the food processor and whiz a few times
- add the cubed butter to the food processor and pulse about 5 or 6 times
- add 5 Tbsp of iced water and pulse 8-10 times, the dough should come together into a ball that is only lightly wet. If you need more water, add it in, one Tbsp at a time.
- shape the dough into a disc, handling it as little as possible, and place it in plastic wrap (I like Ziploc bags for this).
- refrigerate the dough at least one hour or up to overnight.
- to roll out the dough, place a generous amount of flour on the work surface. Place the dough disc atop the flour and then sprinkle flour on top of the dough.
- roll the dough out. Once you've got the dough rolled out an inch on all sides, add a bit more flour to the dough. This will prevent it from sticking to your rolling pin.
- now your dough is ready for use.

Chanterelle and Cauliflower Tart
serves 4-6

1/2 lb fresh chanterelle mushrooms
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme (1 Tbsp fresh)
1 head cauliflower, cut into small bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

- preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cut this chanterelles into 1/2 inch strips. Place them in a saute pan over medium-high heat and saute until the majority of the water has come out of them
- pour off the water and set the mushroom aside.
- place the butter in the pan and add onions. Cook until translucent and add the garlic and thyme. Saute another 2 minutes.
- return the mushrooms to the pan and add the cauliflower. Saute until the cauliflower just starts to get golden.
- add the white wine and cream. Cook down to about a 1/4 cup (or so that it pretty much just coats the mushrooms and cauliflower), this should take about 8-10 minutes.
- place your rolled out tart crust into a ten inch tart pan and place the filling in the crust.
- bake your tart for 30 to 40 minutes and remove from the oven. Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.