Appetizers & Snacks/

Exotic Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tarts

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This is an elegant appetizer that can be prepared ahead and frozen until you’re ready to serve. That was one of the reasons I picked it for the Valentine dinner menu. It’s easy to prepare and the pinwheel design adds to the elegance of this dish. The fact that it’s also delicious is why I love this recipe. It was a big hit in the kitchen when I was testing it last week. Plus, if you freeze the extra tarts, you can bake them off from the frozen state.

Servings: 20Pinwheel Tarts
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4pounds exotic mushrooms (we like a mixture of shiitake, oyster and maitake)
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 to 3large shallots, finely diced (1/3 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 8ounces goat cheese, softened
  • 2tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1tablespoonadobo sauce from a can of chipotles
  • 1/4cup chopped cilantro
  • All purpose flour for rolling out the puff pastry
  • 114-ounce package all butter puff pastry
  • 2tablespoonsqueso anejo or parmesan

Instructions

Clean and remove any tough stems from the mushrooms. Cut or tear into 1/4-inch slices, you should have about 12 ounces or 6 cups. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, scoop in the mushrooms. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt over the mushrooms and stirring occasionally, cook until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the shallots. Continue cooking until the shallots have softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape in the garlic and cook an additional minute or until you can smell the garlic. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

While the mushroom mixture is cooling, combine the goat cheese, heavy cream, adobo sauce, cilantro and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface, unfold the puff pastry and roll it out, if necessary, into a 13 x 9-inch rectangle, a 1/4-inch thick. Spread the goat cheese mixture over the entire surface, then top with an even layer of the mushroom mixture. Starting with the long edge, tightly roll up the puff pastry. Place the roll, seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment and refrigerate for 1 hour. Then, using a serrated knife, cut the roll into 3/4-inch slices. Place the slices on the parchment lined baking sheet leaving 2 inches between each tart. Return the baking sheet to the refrigerator for 30 minutes, during which time you can preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Place the baking sheet on the center rack and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the queso anejo over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Testing Notes: You can bake off as many tarts as you need. Freeze the remainder in a single layer to use at a later date. Bake on parchment at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Jill's Wine Recommendations: The 2009 Sierra Norte “Pasión de Bobal” from Utiel-Requena, Spain. The label has an adorable Valentine’s day look, but aside from that it’s an easy drinking, delicious bottle of wine. The grape type is Bobal which is a lighter- bodied wine rich in soft fruit. This brings out the natural sweetness of the lobster, but has enough earthiness to match the mushroom tart. If you’re looking for a white wine, I recommend the White Rock Chardonnay from Napa Valley. It’s a wonderfully balanced wine with just the right touch of oak- definitely a departure from the oaky, California butter-bombs of the past.

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