Spinach and Portobello tarts with a pecan crust

Portobello and spinach tart

Portobello and spinach tart

We both forgot it was valentine’s day. To be honest, I also forgot it was Friday or mid-February and I can barely remember my name. It’s all a big blur of snow and sniffles and boys home from school every other day. In truth it didn’t matter that we forgot Valentine’s day, because that’s sort of the point. When you’re in love you don’t need to remember Valentine’s day. After more than twenty years a lot of our pleasures together are of the everyday sort, but as much as I value and champion the ordinary, I know that these everyday pleasures, shared every day, are not ordinary at all. I fully realize that having somebody to share each day with, to share our odd sense of humor, our strange meals, our crazy boys, our comfortable silences, our worries and woes, our trips to the grocery store, our wine before dinner, our difficult decisions, our rare days off, our ramshackle house, our dreaming bed, our morning coffee and the cake to go with it, our newly discovered old music, our fondly remembered long-ago loved music, our inspiration, our down days, our photographs, our shared memories of nearly half our lives, our memories of before we met, our new ideas, our favorite films, our exhaustion, our sickness, our hope for spring, our lengthening days; I fully realize that having somebody to share all of this is a rare and wonderful thing. I fully understand this, and I’m thankful for it, every day. Happy Valentine’s day!

Spinach and portobello tarts

Spinach and portobello tarts

Of course, though I don’t need to remember Valentine’s day, I’m always glad of an excuse to think of some special meal to make. I made this a few days ago, and it seemed pretty special at the time. David had the idea of slicing the mushrooms the way apples and pears are frequently sliced on top of a fruit tart, and I think it worked very well. The custard is spinachy and smoky and pleasantly tender, and the mushrooms crisp and meaty.

Here’s Cee Lo Green with All Day Love Affair

THE CRUST

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup toasted pecans, and processed until coarsely ground
1 t salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, frozen

In a large bowl combine the flour, pecans, salt and pepper and mix well. Grate in the butter and mix with a fork until coarse and crumbly. Add just enough ice water to pull everything together into a workable dough. Knead briefly to be sure everything is combined. Wrap in foil and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

THE FILLING

6 portobello mushrooms
olive oil to coat
balsamic vinegar
3 eggs
3 cups packed baby spinach
1 clove garlic, roasted or toasted
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated smoked gouda
1/2 cup milk
2 t rosemary
pinch nutmeg
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Trim the mushrooms and wipe off any excess dirt. If they have a large stem, remove it and save it to make broth or use in another recipe. Slash the top of the mushrooms with a knife once or twice, but not deeply enough to go all the way through. Place the mushrooms stem-side up on a baking sheet that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Pour a splash of olive oil and vinegar in each one. Roast for about half an hour, turning frequently, Until the mushrooms are dark brown and charred and crispy set aside to cool.

In a food processor or blender combine all of the filling ingredients and blend until fairly smooth and flecked with green.

Roll the dough to be about 1/8th inch thick. I used three small (6 – inch) tart pans, but you could use one 11 inch, or probably two ten inches. You could maybe even use big muffin pans, and put one mushroom per tart. Whatever size pan you use, lightly butter it and then line it with dough. Prick the dough, and bake for five or ten minutes till it just loses its shine. If the edges fall down, you can coax them back up with your fingers or the back of a spoon.

Pour the filling into each pre-baked tart shell. Slice each portobello to form a sort of fan, and place one or two mushrooms on each tart. If you’re making one big tart, arrange the mushrooms prettily all around the surface.

Bake for around half an hour, until the filling is puffed and golden.

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2 thoughts on “Spinach and Portobello tarts with a pecan crust

  1. Pingback: Spinach and Portobello tarts with a pecan crust | Ad Free Stuff

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