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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

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Today's mission: a spring onion and oyster mushroom tart with chevre and arugula, with a spinach salad.
Today's mission: a spring onion and oyster mushroom tart with chevre and arugula, with a spinach salad. (Photo: Kelly Smith)
The market had a fine stock of oyster mushrooms.
The market had a fine stock of oyster mushrooms. (Photo: Kelly Smith)
The ingredients for our mushroom tart and spinach salad.
The ingredients for our mushroom tart and spinach salad. (Photo: Kelly Smith)
Onions play a crucial role in our mushroom tart.
Onions play a crucial role in our mushroom tart. (Photo: Kelly Smith)
The finished plate.
The finished plate. (Photo: Kelly Smith)

How to make a farmers market showcase dinner starring mushrooms

Early summer at Milwaukee area farmers markets is always kind of a mixed bag, even more so this year after the long, persistent winter.
 
We ventured out to the Tosa Farmers Market this weekend and were pleasantly surprised. Some tomatoes, pole beans and asparagus were starting to fill in between the usual early season greens, beets and rhubarb. We found some beautiful oyster mushrooms from Sugar Bee Farms. If you’ve never tried them, oyster mushrooms are very meaty but surprisingly delicate-tasting, and some of these particular mushrooms had an aroma you could call "fruity." We also came across a variety of perfect greens and some tiny, deep red strawberries from the Wellspring stand.  
 
I wanted to make something that showcased the mushrooms and made use of the avalanche of spring onions at every produce stand, so I thought a tart was a nice choice, topped with some fresh chèvre from the LaClare Farms booth. My wife is a fan of spinach salads, which to me is just a perfect excuse for bacon dressing, this time with some stray garlic scapes thrown in.
 
A note on the bacon: While I love frying up bacon in my big cast iron pan, I’m a solid convert on baking your bacon. It gives you consistent results, it’s completely hands-off, and you don’t risk burning it while you’re attending to any number of other things in the kitchen. You just lay the bacon on a lined baking sheet, start it in a cold oven set to 425F and 25 minutes later, perfect bacon.
 

Market Dinner:

  • Spring onion & oyster mushroom tart with chèvre & arugula
  • Spinach salad with strawberries & warm bacon/garlic scape dressing

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of cooked bacon (fat reserved)
  • 1/4 pound spinach and mixed greens (I used mizuna)
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp garlic scapes, diced
  • 6 spring onions, cut in half moons (about 3 cups)
  • pint of oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 sheet puff pastry (or homemade pastry dough)
  • 3 oz chèvre
  • handful of arugula, roughly chopped
  1. Blind bake your crust. Lay the puff pastry in your tart pan or on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes or until slightly browned.
  2. In a large pan on medium, add 2 tbsp olive oil, the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté 10 min., until onions begin to caramelize.
  3. Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Cook 5 more minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, stir to combine.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tart crust. Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes.
  5. While the tart is cooking, add 3 tbsp bacon fat to a pan over medium. Sauté garlic scales for 5 min, until soft. Whisk in sugar until dissolved. Add cider vinegar and mustard, remove from heat and stir to combine.
  6. Pile spinach, greens, and strawberries, top with dressing and crumbled bacon.
  7. Pull the tart from the oven, top with small pieces of chèvre, arugula and a little drizzle of olive oil. Slice and serve.

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