In Paris, my local cheese store, Quatrehomme, always has an array of savory tarts ready to be sliced and taken home for reheating. Recently, I noticed one made with mild, lovely Cantal cheese topped with sliced tomatoes, another prepared with extra creamy Reblochon cheese and ham, and a new combo of brébis (sheep’s cheese) with smoked ham. A few steps away at La Grande Epicerie, a spinach and fresh salmon torte encrusted in a rich golden pastry shell was equally tempting. All were inspiration for the mushroom and scallop tart I made for lunch a few days ago.
Baking this tart was a breeze because I used plenty of convenience ingredients. For the crust, I bought puff pastry sheets already cut into circles so that all I needed to do was mold one into a tart pan. The cheese store sold grated Gruyère, and it wasn’t a problem to find a box of fresh, sliced mushrooms. On the other side of the Atlantic, puff pastry is sold in most markets, but you will need to cut a sheet to fit your pan. Pre-sliced mushrooms are common too, but you may have to take a few minutes to grate the cheese.
For the filling, the mushrooms were sautéed with shallots, seasoned with cumin, and combined with crème fraîche. Sea scallops, halved through their centers, were nestled into the mushroom filling and topped with cheese. This tart needs about 30 minutes in the oven and is delicious served with a salad of arugula and mache dressed in lemon and olive oil. It was perfect for a winter lunch but would be just as appealing for a light weeknight or weekend supper.
Scallop and Mushroom Tart
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, about 9 in square and 1/8 in thick (See note.)
2 tbsp olive oil plus more if needed
10 oz thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp ground cumin plus 1/4 tsp for the scallops
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crème fraiche
1 large egg
8 oz medium scallops with side muscles removed, halved horizontally
Several pinches cayenne pepper
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp grated Gruyère
1.Arrange a rack at the lowest position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Have ready a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
2. Roll the puff pastry sheet into a thin 10 1/2 inch square and carefully drape over the rolling pin and place in the tart pan. Press the dough against the bottom and up the sides. Trim the overhanging dough to 1/2 to 3/4 inches. Fold overhanging dough in and press to form double thick sides. Prick the bottom all over with the tines of a fork. Place the tart shell, uncovered, in the freezer for 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile prepare the filling. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the mushrooms and shallots and cook, stirring, until both are browned lightly and no liquid from the mushrooms remains, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add more oil if needed. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tbsp of the parsley, 1/2 tsp cumin, generous 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
4. In a small bowl whisk together the egg and crème fraîche until well blended, and then stir this mixture into the mushrooms. Pat the scallops dry and then season them generously with salt, pepper, 1/4 tsp cumin, and several pinches of cayenne.
5. Remove the tart shell from the freezer and spread the mushroom mixture in a thin layer in the shell. Then nestle the scallops into the mushroom filling.
6. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the Gruyère over the filling and bake until the crust is golden and the filling is hot, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven. If the scallops have given off any liquid during the baking, use paper towels to soak it up. Sprinkle the tart with remaining 2 tbsp cheese and with remaining 1 tbsp parsley. Cool 5 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 4 to 6.
Note: A 17.3 ounce package of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry contains two 9-inch square sheets. Defrost the puff pastry in the package overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour. The dough should still be very well chilled before you roll it out.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2014
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