photographs by Matt Hulsman

Mushroom, Asparagus, & Gruyère Tart
Yield: 6 servings.

1 sheet best-quality puff pastry, thawed but chilled
1 pound assorted mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 small sweet onion, peeled, quartered, and sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic glaze 4 ounces Gruyère cheese,
freshly shredded
1 pound fresh asparagus, tips only*

Preheat oven to 400 ̊. Gently unfold puff pastry and place in a 10-inch tart or pie pan. Press gently into base and edges. Place pastry in refrigerator until ready to fill.

Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. In a skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and thyme, turning to coat. Sauté until mushrooms have released their water, turned golden brown, and are slightly dry. Place mushrooms into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To the same skillet over medium heat, add onion slices. Cover the pan and cook without touching until onions are soft and have just started to caramelize. Remove from heat.

Drizzle balsamic glaze over the onions. Remove pastry from refrigerator and fill with mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle cheese evenly over mushroom and onion mixture.

Place tart in the oven and bake until puff pastry is golden brown and crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool for about 10 minutes. Heat a small skillet on medium-high heat. Add asparagus tips to dry, hot pan, and sauté just until asparagus begins to char. Arrange asparagus tips on tart. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Chop and save remaining asparagus spears for omelets, pasta, salads, or soups.

Herbed Mushroom Salad with Parmesan
Yield: 4 servings.

1 large lemon
2 tablespoons minced shallot
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced ¼-inch thick
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, 
cleaned and sliced
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
(use a vegetable peeler for larger shards)
¼ cup toasted pine nuts

Finely grate lemon zest into a large serving bowl. Squeeze the juice into the serving bowl, and add shallot, parsley, thyme, marjoram, nutmeg, 1½ teaspoons salt, and black pepper to taste. Whisk in olive oil. Add mushrooms and toss to coat. Let salad marinate for 10 minutes.

Just before serving, toss mushrooms again, season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with Parmesan and pine nuts.

Marinated Mushrooms
Yield: 4 servings.

1 pound button mushrooms
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons diced red onion 2 cloves garlic, whole
2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (optional)

Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook mushrooms until just tender, about 3 to 4 minutes; drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, red onion, garlic, sugar, oregano, caraway seeds, peppercorns, and red pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add mushrooms and toss well.

Transfer to an airtight container and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to 5 days. Turn container over every 2 hours, or once a day, depending on how long they marinate.

Serve at room temperature, garnished with fresh basil, if desired.

Wild Rice & Mushroom Casserole

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

4 cups cooked wild rice, prepared according to package directions
1½ pounds assorted mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 stick unsalted butter
½ cup soy sauce
2 cups full-fat sour cream
Salt to taste

½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup slivered almonds, with extra for garnish

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 350  ̊. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish.

Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Slice mushrooms and sauté with celery and onions in butter for 10 minutes.

Combine soy sauce, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Add cooked wild rice; onion, mushroom, and celery mixture; and almonds. Toss lightly. Season with salt to taste.

Place mixture into casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour, uncovered. Stir casserole every 15 minutes while baking. Garnish with slivered almonds and fresh parsley. Serve with crusty bread.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.