Looking out the window today, all I could see was rain, rain and more rain. It’s one of those January days where you want to be creative. Dazed by the weather, I was suddenly transported to Italy, reminiscing on past holidays. Rome is one of my favourite romantic cities and I was taken back to the time my husband and I had a beautiful honeymoon there. One hot evening, after a long day of taking in the city, that moment at dusk when you don’t know if you should go back to the hotel and change or go straight to a restaurant, we stumbled onto a little hidden Piazza with an unremarkable looking winebar. As it was early we were the only guests. We ordered two glasses of Brunello and asked if they had anything to serve it with, some salty little snacks perhaps. And they sure did. The most gorgeous tartlets with porcini mushrooms, onion, fennel (I think). Somehow these little tartlets popped up in my mind today and I made a version of them for the two of us. For a brief moment we were back in Rome. Food really can take you places.
Ingredients (serves 4):
4-5 Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and sliced into rondelles (round slices)
1 fennel, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced finely
450 g/ 1 pound cèpes/porcini mushrooms (I used the cèpes I picked and froze this fall. You can use any of favourite mushrooms/dried mushrooms)
1 glass of red wine
A handful of chopped fresh parsley
1 roll puff pastry (230 g/ 1/2 pound) or you can make your home-made version here
Olive oil (for frying)
30 g/ 2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 slices of country bread (discard the crust, place the bread in a food processor to get breadcrumbs)
Coarse salt and black pepper
Peel Jerusalem artichokes, slice them into rondelles/round slices. Slice fennel coarsely. In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, fry the vegetables on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with coarse salt and pepper. The vegetables should be cooked yet on the crunchy side.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C/ 350°F.
Prepare the pastry base. Cut out 4 circles with a pastry cutter (I use a bowl to draw the circles) of approx 10-12 cm (3-5 inches). Prick pastry with a fork all over, place on a parchment-lined baking tray, and cover with a another piece of parchment paper. To avoid them to puff up too much, place another baking tray on top (or any rectangle shaped cake tin, grill etc) for 10 minutes. Then remove the parchment paper with the added weight and bake them bare for another 6-7 minutes, or until golden.
While the pastry is in the oven, heat some olive oil and start frying the chopped onion and garlic for 5 minutes on a medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and continue frying (add a bit of olive oil if it is too dry) until all the ingredients are golden and slightly crunchy. Set aside.
Chop the mushrooms finely, save 2 or 3 full mushrooms to garnish in the end. In a frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil, fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper, add red wine and leave to reduce for about 2 minutes. Set aside. Fry the remaining mushrooms (coarsely chopped) for a few minutes in 1 tbsp butter.
When the pastry is ready, garnish with the red wine mushrooms, followed by the Jerusalem artichokes and fennel, a few coarsely chopped mushrooms. Return to oven for 2 minutes, just to reheat slightly. Garnish with fresh parsley, a small pinch of coarse salt and parmesan shavings. Serve immediately.
20 thoughts on “Winter vegetable tartlets”
Wonderful romantic story! Thank you for sharing!
Your recipes, photos, and words are just beautiful. Thank you.
What a pleasant surprise to wake up to! You just brought back a flood of memories for me with this post. I miss Italy so much! All the amazing restaurants hidden around corners or down narrow alleys, like gems in a maze just waiting to be discovered! It’s one of the things I love most about Italy – and I’ve never been disappointed in an Italian restaurant 🙂
Hope the weather is a little more cheerful today! ~Rebecca
Hi Rebecca! Bad weather can be very inspiring! This little tartlet is filled with goodness. Unfortunately the weather is wet, wet and very wet. They are even predicting some snow soon… Have a lovely day! Mimix
Mimi….I cannot find Jerusalem Artichokes anywhere in town. Suggestions for substitutions please. I picked up some eddoes but have never cooked with them before. What do you think would work?
Bonjour Gina! Here’s a few suggestions: You could replace with artichokes hearts (you can but frozen ones if it’s easier). You could change the recipe and fry some endives (chicory) with butter, add a few walnuts. Or you could sauté potatoes, carrots and french beans. Any vegetable works, really! I like the sound of eddoes, perhaps they would take a bit longer to fry (you could boil them for a few minutes before). I hope this helps! Mimix
“Food really can take you places.” You are a wonderful writer, an amazing cook and just an inspiring person altogether.
I made your vegetable tarte tatin last night. I didn’t have artichokes either and used eggplant instead. Was really delicious and incredibly rich! I look forward to all your recipes.
I am new to your blog. I am captivated with everything in your blog – the content, the pictures… everything… thanks for sharing.
Love from San Francisco, CA
I think you have a wonderful blog. I have now tried several of your recipes with great success…loved by my family.
Because I find it easier to have a copy of the recipe in hand, I wonder if you might sometime add a “print” option ?
I try to highlight and print a portion, but somehow cannot do it without copying the entire page (photos, etc.)
Thank you for being such a great cook !
Bonsoir Bobbie! Thanks so much for such a positive comment. It brings me joy to hear hat the recipes have been enjoyed! I will look into the print option on the recipe posts and hopefully add that feature asap! Thanks. Mimix
I just saw this comment as I’m noting down the recipe to make these tartlets this weekend. I recommend http://www.printfriendly.com/ to generate a free PRINT & PDF button. It’s very easy to set up and compatible with wordpress.
I am new in the kitchen, and since I discovered your blog has been a pleasure to read your comments, to cook your recepies (I confess I am a disaster, but I am learning) and to enjoy your husband’s photographies. Thank you for sharing your culinary life filled with kids, dogs and nature; and for inspiring so many people in putting us a smile every 2-3 days.
P.D.: My sister asks if your husband has a brother for her. She cooks “tortilla de patata” very well! 🙂
Hooray for a vegetarian entree! I love your photos and your beautiful house.
Your statement “Food really can take you places,” is so true. Funny how a certain flavor or smell can instantly transport you to another time or mood. I love that about food.
Thanks for sharing this recipe – it looks delicious.
Can this be made w/o the wine?
Bonjour! Yes, this can definitely be cooked without the wine. Bonne journée, Mimix