The stars aligned for holiday travels this year; my husband and I had about ten days to cruise up and down the east coast to visit family and friends. We made it from Connecticut to Washington D.C., Vienna, Charlottesville, and Richmond, Virginia, to Chevy Chase, Maryland, as well as Centreville, Maryland. During this time I made a few of my favorite recipes for family members, but I also had a lot of time to think about and plan new dishes for this here blog. I even strategized a bit about the blog’s future and where I’d like to take it in 2015…but more about that boring blah later. Tonight I’ve got a New Year’s Eve fête to throw, tomorrow New Year’s Day soup to make, and I’m hoping to get those recipes (steak à la bordelaise, cauliflower gratin, pasta e fagioli!) up sometime this weekend. Until then, here is a favorite dish of mine that I never got around to posting previously. I’m a sucker for a savory breakfast, not to mention one that is wrapped in pastry goodness and this one completely fits the bill. Share with a loved one or eat the whole thing yourself – not going to lie, I’ve done it!
Generously serves 2
- 8 oz puff pastry, homemade or store-bought, defrosted if frozen
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4-5 crimini mushrooms, diced
- 1 fennel bulb, diced (save a frond or two for garnish)
- 1 handful of arugula
- ¼ – ½ cup of freshly grated Comté, Gruyère, or Emmental cheese (although, I used Sprout Creek’s Troussaint)
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Dollop of crème fraiche
- 1 egg yolk for an egg wash
First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, prepare the pastry. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface (until about 1/4 inch thick). Cut out a large circle, between 9-11 inches, so that the pastry will fit into a 12 inch cast iron pan. Prick the pastry circle all over with a fork, arrange on the pan, and set aside.
Next, in a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the shallot and garlic and cook until soft, for about a minute or two. Then mix in the fennel and turn the heat to medium high. Again, cook until soft, for a few minutes. Finally, add in the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are slightly golden, about two to three minutes more.
After letting it cool for a minute, spoon the mushroom/fennel mixture on to the pastry in the cast iron pan. Top the mixture with a handful of arugula and the grated cheese. Fold the edges of the pastry over to create a pentagon shape, tucking away some of the filling. Gently brush the edges with the egg wash.
Place the cast iron pan in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden. Serve immediately, topped with a dollop of crème fraiche and a fennel frond.