Portobello mushroom tarts with pine nut and parsley salsa

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15 sprigs fresh thyme
8 sprigs fresh rosemary
500ml vegetable stock
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
2 lemons, zest peeled off in long strips
4 small cinnamon sticks
30g unsalted butter
12 medium portobello mushrooms
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g feta, finely crumbled
40g parmesan, finely grated
1 tbsp rose harissa
Plain flour, for dusting
500g block all-butter puff pastry 
½ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes (or other chilli flakes), to finish


For the pine nut salsa
3 tbsp olive oil
30g pine nuts, roughly chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
20g parsley, roughly chopped

Don’t throw away any unused broth here. Instead, use it to make a jus to finish off the dish. Strain into a small pan, then reduce until you have about 70ml of thickened liquid left. Stir in 10g of unsalted butter and drizzle over the tarts before finishing them off with the pine nut salsa. It’s an extra step in an already long recipe, I know, but the result is more than worth it. Serves six.

Method

Heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2. Put the first eight ingredients in a large bowl with half a teaspoon of salt and plenty of black pepper. Mix gently, so the mushrooms get coated in the liquid but don’t break up. Transfer to a high-sided medium baking tray (about 25cm x 35cm), making sure the mushrooms sit skin side down on top of the mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes, basting the mushrooms every half-hour or so. Remove from the oven, lift the mushrooms out of the liquid and set aside to cool. Cut six of the mushrooms lengthways into 5mm slices, and leave the rest whole.


Raise the oven temperature to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Put the feta, parmesan and harissa in a medium bowl with three tablespoons of the poaching liquor, stir until smooth and spreadable, then set aside.


Line six 10cm wide x 2cm deep tartlet tins or fluted round ceramic dishes with a circle of baking parchment. On a lightly-floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 30cm wide x 44cm long x 2-3mm thick rectangle. Cut out six 12cm-diameter circles from the pastry, and press them into the lined tins. Divide the cheese mixture between the tins and spread evenly on top – you should be left with 1cm of pastry clear at the top of the tin. Fill with sliced mushrooms, then finish by firmly pressing a whole mushroom skin side down on top. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden-brown and cooked through, including at the base.


Meanwhile, make the pine nut salsa. Pour the oil into a small saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the pine nuts and fry for one to two minutes, stirring constantly, until golden-brown. Add the lemon juice carefully – it will spit! – then remove from the heat and pour into a small bowl. Set aside to cool, then stir in the parsley.


Once the tarts are ready, remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the parsley and pine nuts spooned on top and a sprinkle of chilli to finish.

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  1. The Plenty More cookbook and apron duo

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    The Plenty More cookbook and apron duo
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