Mushroom Masters: A Tournament of Taste is back for year two!
I was delighted to be asked to participate again after having so much fun with my Portabella Pizza recipe last year. Things got wild. Last year’s challenge is a big reason why I now love (and crave!) mushrooms as much as I do. I really didn’t fall in love with mushrooms until I started experimenting with them in the kitchen.
Sometimes those strange little things just need to grow on you like…fungi…?
Check out these cool mushroom facts:
- Mushrooms are the only item in the produce aisle with vitamin D. Winter’s coming, eat up!
- Mushrooms are low in calories, fat free, and can be an effective substitute for meats thanks to their hearty and fulfilling nature. I would concur.
- Mushrooms are a source of selenium and ergothionene, antioxidants that play a role in immunity. Don’t be a sicky this Winter and eat up.
- Mushrooms are a kitchen staple: they can star as the feature ingredient, or pair with any dish. They are like a little black dress, in other words.
Tastespotting is hosting the event once again along with Mushrooms Canada, Australian Mushroom Growers Association, and The Mushroom Council. Twelve of us food bloggers from Canada, US, and Australia were asked to compete in this challenge and were offered a bit of compensation for our time and food costs. We are now in the 4th and final week of the challenge.
To be honest, I thought my mushroom creativity was maxed out with last year’s Portabella Pizza, but this Mushroom Walnut Pesto Tart is hands down the best mushroom recipe I’ve ever made. I’m so excited to share it with you after sitting on the recipe for a few weeks.
Given my recent infatuation for vegetables in my pesto, I thought it would be fun to make a mushroom walnut parsley pesto as a base for a tart. I really had no idea how it would turn out so I prayed to the culinary gods for a miracle.
For the pesto, I processed together garlic, toasted walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, fresh parsley, S & P, and the sautéed mushrooms. I was a bit worried that the mushrooms would taste weird in a pesto (shame on me, I know), but the flavours just worked so well. If you don’t want to make a tart you can always use this pesto with a pasta dish or spread over some crostini. Or you know, the spoon to face method worked for me quite well.
Step aside roasted tomato basil pesto, there’s a new fav pesto in town.
Calling all mushroom fans!
My award-winning pesto tart took home first-prize in a Mushroom Canada competition a few years ago. It takes a bit of time to prepare, but the wait is worth it once you sink your teeth into your first crispy, savory bite. If you don’t want to make a phyllo tart you can simply spread the pesto onto crostini or try tossing the pesto with pasta and sauteed mushrooms for an elegant dinner.
For the pesto:
- 2 garlic cloves
- 20 oz (~1.25 lb) sliced crimini mushrooms, divided
- 2/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts, divided
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1/2-3/4 tsp kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the tart:
- 7-8 Phyllo Pastry sheets
- Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing sheets
- 1 red onion, sliced into long strands
- Remaining crimini mushrooms
- Fresh parsley, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Thaw Phyllo dough according to package directions.
- In a large skillet, sauté the sliced red onion in 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat. Stir often for about 30 minutes. In another skillet, sauté the sliced mushrooms in 1-2 tsp olive oil for about 20 minutes or until the water cooks out.
- With the food processor running, drop 2 peeled garlic cloves in and process until chopped. Add in 1 cup (saving the rest for the tart) sautéed mushrooms, olive oil, and water and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Now add in the rest of the ingredients (using only 1/3 cup walnuts) and process until smooth. Stir in remaining 1/3 cup walnuts. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Place 1 sheet of Phyllo dough onto prepared baking sheet. Brush or spray on oil. Repeat for 7 layers. Carefully fold each side inward to form a crust. With a fork, poke lots of holes all over the phyllo to allow air to escape. You can also weigh it down with pie weights. Bake at 350°F for about 18-20 mins until golden.
- After cooling the phyllo for 5 mins, carefully spread on all of the pesto, top with the remaining mushrooms and onion. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves. Cut into squares and serve immediately.