Potato Mushroom Tart

Potato-Mushroom Tart

Inspiration for this yummy Potato Mushroom Tart comes from two sources. First, Evelyn Cheatham, executive director of Worth Our Weight, had a sweet little café named Tweet’s on the edge of downtown Santa Rosa in the early 1990s. It was next door to the offices of the weekly newspaper where I was a regular contributor and I had many memorable meals there. A tart similar to this one was unforgettably delicious. When I was writing California Home Cooking, I wanted to include it. Eventually, I tracked down Evelyn, who was working at an ashram in upstate New York, where she fed about 10,000 three meals a day from three different kitchens, far enough apart that there was a bus line connecting them. She laughed at my detective finesse and shared her recipe with me. It is Tweet’s Potato and Mushroom Tart on page 400 of the book.

The Mysterious Black Chanterelle

Black chanterelles, one of the most beautiful of all wild mushrooms

The second source of inspiration comes from the beguiling black chanterelles, known also as black trumpets and, in French, trompettes des morts, which are in delightful abundance this winter. When Jill Adams, who sells the mushrooms at two of our farmers market (Sebastopol and Santa Rosa), gave me a big beautiful handful, I was inspired to make the tart with them, instead of with the button mushrooms Evelyn used in the original. It worked beautifully and deliciously. (Feel free to use whatever mushrooms you have on hand.)

No Crust, No Worries

Because this is a crustless tart, it is very easy to make; you need no special skills and you needn’t worry that you’re not good at making crusts, something many people tell me. I have a solution for that, beyond eliminating it as I do here, and will share that at another time.

What To Drink

If you are enjoying my Potato Mushroom Tart during the day, for breakfast or lunch, drink whatever you like, tea, café au lait, juice, or even milk. For dinner, I recommend sipping a suave pinot noir alongside. The potatoes and cheese resonate nicely with the wine but the black chanterelles make it soar. See some of my pinot noir pairings here.

 

First layer, before the cheese

First layer, with cheese

Final layer, with cream, salt, & pepper

Out of the oven, cooled, ready to flip

To slip, cover with wax paper

Set a lightweight cutting board on top of the wax paper

Turn everything over so the cutting board is on the bottom and the tart in its pan is on top; just lift the pan off.

Here the tart is served with my Winter Tabbouleh, a perfect contrast in both flavors and textures.

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  • 6 - 8
  • Prep Time: 25 Min
  • Cook Time: 1 Hours 30 Min

Ingredients

  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, preferably homemade
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces black chanterelle mushrooms, broken into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) grated Jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Black pepper in a mill

Directions

  1. Fill a large bowl half full with water. Use a sharp knife or the slicing blade of a food processor or mandoline to cut the potatoes into 1/4-thick slices. Put the slices into the water and set aside.

  2. Use about one tablespoon of the butter to coat the inside of a 9-inch tart pan or similar pan (I use a 10-inch paella pan). Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the butter, shake the pan to distribute them evenly and discard excess crumbs. Set aside.

  3. Put the remaining butter into a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, add the shallots and cook until soft and fragrant. Season lightly with salt. Add the mushrooms, turn to coat in butter, add the white wine, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until the wine is nearly completely evaporated and the mushrooms are soft.

  4. Drain the potatoes and spread them on a clean tea towel; pat them to remove excess water. Preheat to oven to 375 degrees.

  5. Spread about a third of the potatoes over the bottom of the buttered pan. Season with salt and pepper, spread the mushrooms on top, and sprinkle with half the cheese. Top with half of the remaining potatoes, season with salt and pepper, add the remaining cheese and top with a final layer of potatoes. Slowly pour the cream over everything. Season with salt and pepper.

  6. Set on the middle rack of the oven, cover lightly with a sheet of aluminum foil, and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil, test the potatoes for tenderness (pull out a little piece or use a bamboo skewer to penetrate the potatoes; when they are fully tender, there will be no resistance. If not fully tender, replace the foil and cook for another 30 or so. Exact time will vary depending on the width of the slices of potato.

  7. Remove from the oven, lightly press the foil onto the tart and set a heavy skillet on top. Let rest for about 20 minutes. Run a thin flexible metal spatula around the edge of the tart and towards the center, if possible, to loosen it.

  8. Set the tart on your work surface. Discard the aluminum foil and set a piece of wax paper or parchment over it, so that it is completely covered. Set a lightweight cutting board or large flat platter on top and invert everything so that the cutting board or platter is now resting on your work surface. Carefully lift the pan so that the tart drops down onto the wax paper.

  9. Cut into wedges and enjoy hot or at room temperature.

To make this gluten free, use Panko Gluten Free Bread Crumbs. They are made with rice, hold up during cooking, and do not contribute any off flavors or textures, as other substitutes often do. When black chanterelles are not in season, use whatever mushrooms you like. In the original version, Evelyn does not cook the mushrooms separately which is fine when using button, commercial white, or crimini mushrooms. Most wild and specialty mushrooms should be sautéed first, as should portobellos.

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