Wild mushroom and cheese tart

I was totally going to do this with more of the last of the p√Ętisson, but then I saw matsutake mushrooms at New Seasons, alongside gorgeous vermilion lobster mushrooms. The matsutake were $25/lb, but one mushroom was only 75 cents (sliced wafer-thin, it was enough). The lobster mushrooms were much less, as were the maitake and shitake mushrooms I picked up to round it out.

I am going out soon to pick chanterelles, hedgehogs and cauliflower mushrooms, but have to wait until the last of my arduous fieldwork is over. By ‘arduous’, I mean I have to live on a $110/day per diem, which means I stay in the first Motel 6 I can find that has internet and no bloodstains on the mattress. But until I have bushels of the forest’s bounty that I hunted myself, I have to use store-gotten gains. I think I’m okay with that.

I lined a sheet pan with some store-bought puff pastry (don’t look at me like that, making puff pastry from scratch on a work night is for losers) and set the oven to 400. I whisked together 4 eggs and some chopped thyme, marjoram and rosemary, and a little pepper. I heated up a half cup of cream and whisked it in (tempering the eggs as I went), and stirred in a few good knobs of goat cheese, a handful of grated dill havarti and a little manchego for bite (I had these all in the fridge and I tend to forget my cheese drawer for weeks, so cutting off the science-y parts was necessary).

I carefully poured the cheese custard into the pastry shell, and layered on thinly-sliced onion, the sliced mushrooms, and sliced some bits off an old hunk of slab bacon from the freezer. The custard and filling came all the way to the edges, but it was still good. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

My gorgeous friend Stacy gifted me some fancy salts on Saturday, one of which is an intoxicating Salish alder-smoked (the Salish are an ethnographic group of Indigenous/Aboriginal people of the Pacific Northwest coast, although I doubt they actually passed their time by smoking chunks of sea salt over alder fires and then putting it into chic little tins). The salt took a quick crush in the old mortar and pestle, was the perfect final touch.

All that richness was a perfect dinner with a little sliced tomato and quick-sauteed zuke from the garden. These are the very last of the good days weather-wise, and I’m finding that eating the vegetables in less-adulterated ways helps me truly focus on why I’ll miss summer.

…but I sure am glad it’s mushroom season.