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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mushroom, Spinach, and Rosemary Crostada


I was looking for a hearty appetizer to bring to a friend's Christmas cookie party.  I wanted it to be somewhat healthy, since no doubt we'd be filling up on cookies and mulled wine.

This crostata took some preparation time, about an hour, but was otherwise very easy.  I was disappointed to not come home with any leftovers. The pie crust I used was slightly more than half whole wheat, made with butter.  I also added the cayenne.

Here's what I used:

dough for a single-crust pie, chilled for about an hour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
4 cups sliced mushrooms
1 box frozen spinach (10 oz), thawed, drained, squeezed dry in a towel, and chopped
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly-ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup dry French vermouth (see note)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves

Heat butter and oil in a skillet set over a medium-high flame. After the butter melts and foam subsides, add the onions, mushrooms, spinach and rosemary. Season with salt,  pepper, and cayenne. Cover the pan and cook until the onions and mushrooms are soft — about 2 minutes. Then uncover, and toss the ingredients about with a spoon or spatula until the mushrooms have rendered their juices — about 5 minutes. Add the vermouth; stir. When the vermouth has boiled away, remove the pan from the heat. In a medium bowl, add the two cheeses and the rosemary and stir to combine.

Roll the dough into a 12-inch diameter circle, then place onto a buttered, rimless baking sheet. Spread the cheese mixture on the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Spoon the mushroom mixture atop the cheese, then fold the 2-inch border of dough over the filling, making pleats every 2 inches or so. Gently pinch the pleats to seal.  Bake the tart on the lower-middle shelf at 400 degrees until the pastry browns, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then slide the tart onto a platter or wooden board. Dust with freshly-grated Parmesan. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Note:  I couldn't taste the vermouth.  Now granted, I didn't use the fancy French vermouth... I used a cheapo $3.99 bottle of Italian vermouth I got at Trader Joe's that had very little flavor (while packing an 18% alcoholic punch).  The next time I made it, I was liberal with the vermouth, and it still didn't make any difference.  So I say use whatever you've got:  vermouth, dry sherry, white wine, broth... maybe even beer!  Water in a pinch.

Conclusion:  This was delicious and very easy to put together.  I made it again immediately for myself.  I would, however, err on the side of less rosemary, as it was somewhat strong.  The added cayenne gave just a hint of heat.  Lemon zest might also be a nice addition to brighten the flavors.  Don't skimp on the cheese.

Original recipe:  Mushroom, Spinach & Rosemary Tart via A Garden for the House

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