With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I couldn't help but be reminded of all those seasons cooking feasts for hoards of starving tree planters. Though we must have been mad to orchestrate a huge turkey dinner in the full heat of July, it became a cherished tradition, a taste of home in the middle of the woods. But just as important as the turkey with all the trimmings, was the main for the vegetarians. After years of vegetarianism myself and seasons eating spongy tofu in grey sauce, banging out top quality vegetarian meals became a priority.
I can’t imagine a vegetarian who wouldn't welcome this roasted mushroom tart with béchamel and fried sage on their holiday table. Reminiscent of the scents of Thanksgiving – the rosemary, the thyme, the sage – it pairs lemon and herb roasted mushrooms with a dreamy nutmeg-kissed béchamel. While it makes an impressive vegetarian main course to complement the array of Thanksgiving sides, it’s also perfect as an appetizer for any mushroom lover.
Though there are several steps, if you time everything correctly you can have this to the table in under an hour. If desired, skip the fried sage (though that stuff is addictive!) and simply garnish the tart with chopped fresh sage, parsley and thyme.
Roasted Mushroom Tart with Béchamel and Fried Sage
Serves 4-6 as a main
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: Less than 1 hour
2 ½ lbs. mixed mushrooms*
1 head of garlic, cloves removed and peeled
½ small lemon, sliced in rounds
3 tbsp olive oil
5 sprigs each fresh thyme and rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
6 tbsp butter
6 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
¼ tsp nutmeg + more to taste
½ cup grated Parmigianino Reggiano
¼ cup oil
bunch of fresh sage, stems removed
*whole cremini, whole button, halved King oyster, whole enoki
Preheat oven to 425. Toss together the mushrooms (except the enoki), garlic, lemon, olive oil, herbs, and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until golden brown but still tender, about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through. If using enoki mushrooms, add in the last 5 min. Remove the herb stalks and lemon slices.
Meanwhile make the béchamel: melt the butter in a medium saucepan until hot and bubbling. Add the flour. Cook for 1 min, whisking often. Whisk in the milk gradually. Bring to a boil. Cook, whisking frequently, until thick and smooth, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg and cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more nutmeg if desired.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a larger square. Fold over the edges ½“ to create a border. Prick the center lightly with a fork. Bake 10 minutes. Pour the béchamel into the crust. If it all doesn’t fit without pouring over the edge, save it and serve with the tart. Bake an additional 10 minutes until set. Arrange the mushrooms and roasted garlic on top. Bake 5 min more or until the pastry is golden brown.
For the fried sage, heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/3 of the sage leaves and cook until crisp, only 2-3 seconds. Transfer to paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining leaves. Crumble over the tart to serve.
Vegetarian or not, this tart will be a hit at your holiday meal! I love the mushroom blend used in this tart and I know you will too! Whatever the occasion, make this tart part of your celebrations.