So, I took a little hiatus from being here for most of the month of May thus far. Which is a little crazy, since last May, I was here pretty much every other day talking about rhubarb and strawberries. It’s pretty much the best time of the year for food blogging, because aren’t we all just bursting with excitement about things that are green and lush and don’t come out of a can with a depressing *plop* sound?
Anyway, I missed most of May, but I won’t dwell on it. I still have a bit of spring to revel in, and lots of things to get excited about. Flavorful greens are one of the first things that turn up in the spring that I really love and look forward to. And as much wonderful as it is in salads of all kinds, I’m loving it cooked up into other things, too. When I found big bins of fresh mushrooms at the grocery store (ca-ching!) and remembered the bit of homemade ricotta in the fridge (double ca-ching!), I knew that they were all destined for a tumble with a few handfuls of arugula and a mess of creamy custard.
The spicy arugula mellows out when baked into this creamy tart filling, but keeps all its flavor. The mushrooms are earthy and meaty and insanely flavorful. Big dollops of creamy ricotta envelop the greens and shrooms, and the crust is buttery, tender, and basically tastes like a savory butter cookie. So… yeah. I made this for dinner, but it’s one of those fabulous egg-based tarts that could be a perfect main dish for breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon picnic. It’s wonderful hot, but it’s also delicious at room temp.
This wound up being so delicious that I don’t even feel too bad about being a major food-blogger fail for most of the month of May. And don’t worry, I may even still have a rhubarb recipe up my sleeve before the month’s out.
- For crust:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- several grinds of freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) very cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
- For filling:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 lbs assorted mushrooms, quartered or thickly sliced (I used baby portobellas, oysters, and fresh shitake)
- 3 cups baby arugula
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- salt and pepper
Place the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse. Drop in the butter and pulse until just a few pea-sized pieces of butter remain. Add the ice water slowly and pulse once or twice, until the dough begins to clump together. Turn onto a floured board and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over high heat. Add half of the mushrooms, tossing several times to coat. Cook over high heat for approximately 5-6 minutes, tossing every minute or two, until the mushrooms are evenly, deeply golden brown. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl and repeat with the other half of the mushrooms. (Don't rush it and try to get them all done at one time. Sigh. I KNOW.)
When pastry dough has chilled, roll it out onto a lightly floured surface to a circle roughly 12 inches in diameter, or just big enough to reach the edges of your tart pan or quiche dish. Gently transfer to a dish. Pierce bottom all over with a fork, and trim the edges if you'd like. (I didn't bother, I was going for "rustic".)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and cream (and salt and pepper to taste) together with a whisk until smooth and just a bit frothy. Toss the mushrooms and arugula together in the tart shell, making sure you get a nice distribution. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Spoon small dollops (about tablespoon sized) of the ricotta over the entire tart.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the filling is set and the top of the tart is golden brown. (If you're having trouble getting the cheese bubbly and brown, it may be worth your while to turn on your broiler for just a minute!) Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving, or let it cool completely if you're going for room-temp.