Tart does mushrooms proud

Raw is a brilliant state for lettuce, for talent, for truth. Not so much for mushroom.

Uncooked, the mushroom is edible, but barely. It offers a spongy bite of bland. How the naked mushroom ended up on a salad plate -- and why -- remains a mystery.

Hunched and humble, the mushroom needs coaxing. Browned in butter, spiked with sherry and cradled in a crust, it reveals its tangle of tastes: woodsy, wild and worth the wait.

Mushroom Tart

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

Kosher salt

9 tablespoons butter, divided use

1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1/2 pound plain mushrooms, such as white button and crimini, cleaned, chopped

1/2 pound fancy mushrooms, such as oyster, shiitake and maitake, cleaned, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

1/4 cup sherry

Ground black pepper

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese

In a food processor, buzz flour, cornmeal and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Drop in 8 tablespoons butter. Pulse until largest lumps are the size of peas. Pour in ice-cold water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and pulse until dough clumps. Pat pastry into a rectangle, wrap in waxed paper and chill 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to about 1/8-inch thin, and fit into an 8-by-10-inch (or 10-inch round) tart pan. Trim edges. Prick with a fork. Line with foil. Freeze, 1 hour.

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain, rinse and chop.

Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a wide skillet over medium. Add shallots and cook, 2 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms turn soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme and rehydrated mushrooms; cook, 30 seconds. Turn up heat, pour in sherry and scrape up browned bits. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Whisk yolks and cream in a large bowl. Stir in cheese and mushrooms.

Set frozen tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet. Slide into a 400-degree oven and bake until shell begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool. Peel off foil. Scrape in mushroom filling. Bake until filling has set, about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 8 servings.

Food on 09/13/2017

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