Visions on loveliness filled with mouthwatering goodness. That's what came to mind when I saw this recipe over at CiaoChowLinda where she displayed her version from the recipe over at ProudItalianCook.
And now for my version.
I have to say, I think this is one of, if not the prettiest side dish I have ever made.
When I received my free Morel Mushrooms from Marxfood.com, I wanted to make something special with them. Btw...you can purchase fresh (when in season) as well as dried Morel Mushrooms (and lots of other mushroomy stuffs and spices and oils and a whole lot of fun food stuff) directly from MarxFood.com. Anyways....when I browsed through my "starred" recipes in my reader...I knew the second I saw this....that it was exactly what I was looking for.
CiaChowLinda made hers with ricotta cheese...ProudItalianCook made hers with goat cheese. I had ricotta on hand and went with that. I also added some sliced green onions and of course the morels. Fried morels that is. And the crust? You can use pie dough from the refrigerator section of the grocery store. I didn't have any so I made mine from a recipe out of my ancient (use to be my mother in-law's) Betty Crocker Cookbook. It started out as a plain pastry dough until.....
I added ....
wait for it.....
wait for it.........
grated parmesan cheese!!!
Oh man...was that good! It just added a yummy savory flavor to the crust.
Savory Parmesan Tart / Pie Crust
(for 8" or 9" double crust pie....I only needed one crust so the other half is in my fridge. How long is it good in there for, I wonder)
1 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup'ish grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cold butter (or shortening...I used butter)
4-5 tablespoons cold water
Sift together the flour and the salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or use a fork like I did cuz my pastry blenders always get screwed up in the drawer....all bent and stuff. Pisses me off) until you get pieces that are pea sized. Or....(and this is what I did)....Cut in half of the butter until the mixture looks like corn meal. Then cut in the rest of the butter until you have those pea sized pieces. This is suppose to make the pastry extra tender and flaky.
Toss in the parmesan cheese and mix quickly, but don't try and "blend" it in...you don't want to mess with the piece sized pieces.
Sprinkle water, a tablespoon at a time, over part of the mixture. Gently mix with a fork; push to the side of the bowl. Sprinkle next tablespoon of water over dry part, mixing lightly, push to moistened part at the side. Repeat till all is moistened. Gather up the with your fingers and form a ball. Let stand several minutes.
Divide dough in half and form each half into a ball. Flatten slightly and roll on a lightly floured surface to the desired size and thickness. For a tart, roll the dough thinner than you would for a pie.
Fit into your tart pan, trimming edges. Poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork. Bake in a 450' oven for about 8 minutes.
And now for the fantabulous filling!!
Ricotta Cheese Tart with Morel Mushrooms
10 oz Ricotta Cheese (I think I used full fat...I'm not one to buy low fat anything. I have proof)
3 large eggs
3 green onions, chopped
A handful of Fried Morel Mushrooms (I'll talk about that in a later post) or any mushroom of your choice
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest from one lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
Asparagus Stalks, blanched until until barely tender
4 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 slice of a medium sized tomato (the orange tomato I think made a pretty contrast in color)
1 partially cooked tart shell
Mix together the ricotta cheese, eggs, green onions, fried 'shrooms, garlic, lemon zest, herb de provence, salt and pepper
Let me mention a revelation I had. About Herbs de Provence. Prior to this recipe, I had never seen nor (knowingly) tasted Herbs de Provence. I usually just substitute it out for other stuff. I decided to look up what herbs are in this mix, figuring I'd just make my own blend. I mean, I have a cupboard FULL of herbs and spices. Surely I'd have everything needed.
Until I read that lavender is one of the herbs.
Thats when I knew I needed to splurge and buy this mix. You see, I've never cooked with lavender either.
When I open the jar...and took a wiff. Ooooooh myyyyyyyyy GOSH! I mean WOW! I fell in love. The aroma IS. TO. DIE FOR! If you have a chance to buy Herbs de Provence, do it...if I recipe calls for Herbs de Provence....I highly recommend that you use it!
I mean...seriously....look at that lovely pile of herbs!!!
Tart...thats right...we're woking on making a tart. (focus, focus, focus)
Pour the mixture into your partially baked tart shell. Arrange your tomatoes and asparagus on top....pushing them in a little to make sure they're nice and snug, but not drowning.
Bake at 375' F for about 30 - 45 minutes.
Serve and enjoy the beauty of not only the presentation, but the aroma and flavors that blend together so nicely.
I hope everyone in the U.S. has a wonderful and safe 4th of July weekend. The rest of the world...enjoy your weekend as well :-)
Giveaway Reminder....I'm giving away an $80 online shopping gift certificate for CSNStores.com. You have until 7/6/10 to enter.