Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Bites
I was in NYC last week to interview the celebrity chef Jehangir Mehta (runner up in the Food Network Iron Chef competition a couple of years ago) for the website www.talkingcranes.com . So as part of the interview “research” I ate a yummy dinner at Mehta’s restaurant Mehtaphor (highly recommend it!) and my favorite of all that I tasted there was an extremely innovative pizza – it was a puff pastry crust with crab meat, goat cheese and mushrooms added as toppings and a final touch of truffle oil drizzled over it. If you are a regular on my blog, you probably know that I love all things puff pastry and my favorite cheese is goat cheese and so this pizza hit just the right spot with me! Not being a trained pastry chef, I won’t even dare to replicate this pizza but I did try to incorporate at least some of the elements of this pizza in another dish and if I may say so myself, it turned out really good. I plan on using these little bites as hor d’oeuvres for my next dinner party!
1. One package of puff pastry sheets (two sheets)
2. 10-12 Cremini mushrooms
3. One medium white onion
4. One tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
5. One tablespoon of butter
6. One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
7. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
8. ¼ teaspoon of black pepper
9. ½ teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
10. 5-6 ounces of fresh goat cheese
11. One cup of dry beans of any kind
1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Cut each puff pastry sheet into equal sized 9 squares (18 in all).
3. Using a rolling pin, flatten each piece and lay each of them in a medium sized muffin pan.
4. Press down on the pieces of puff pastry to fit into the muffin pan and pour a little bit of dry beans into each of the cups to keep the cups’ shape. I used green Moong beans because that is what I had handy at home, but I recommend dry kidney beans or other large sized beans much more because they are easy to scoop out later.
5. Place the muffin pan with the puff pastry pieces (filled with dry beans) into the heated oven and bake for 12-14 minutes.
6. While the puff pastry cups are baking, slice the onion and chop the mushrooms in small pieces.
7. Heat up a flat sauce pan on a stove top at medium heat and put the butter and olive oil into it.
8. When the butter and oil seem to be hot, put the sliced onion into the pan and caramelize the onions.
9. When the onions look translucent and start to brown slightly, add the tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, the chopped mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir the contents of the pan frequently.
10. While the onions and mushrooms are cooking, take the puff pastry cups out of the oven and using a spoon, carefully scoop out all the dry beans from these cups.
11. When the onions and mushrooms look cooked (usually takes 10-12 minutes on low heat), using a spoon pour about a tablespoon of this onion and mushroom mixture into each of the puff pastry cups.
12. Crumble a little bit of goat cheese (approximately 1-2 teaspoons) on each of the cups and place the muffin pan for an additional 12-14 minutes in the oven (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
13. Take the muffin pan out of the oven and using a spoon gently slide each puff pastry cup out of the muffin pan.
14. Serve on plate as appetizers before dinner or a snack with coffee or tea.
What happens to the mung beans?
Poonam, the Moong beans had to be thrown away after they were used as weights for the puff pastry shells. They get too hot in the oven and then we can’t cook with them. I suggest using larger beans as weights because they are easier to scoop out – but unfortunately I was all out of everything and so had to resort to Moong.
these look really terrific! I love pizza and anything that has a bread and cheese type base, and caramelized onions go perfectly in this combination. I will try out your recipe – I am sure the filling would taste just as good even on a regular pizza crust or on a toasted piece of baguette (like a bruschetta).
I, too, want to know if you have tried then using the mung beans for cooking. I did this blind baking once with kidney beans and found that when I tried to reuse them it took forever to hydrate and they never really plumped up even after hours of soaking and boiling. May be I just had an old batch of kidney beans? Would be good to hear if your mung beans were okay in subsequent cooking.
Thanks Shilpa – Yup, I am sure the caramelized onion and mushroom mixture would go well with toasted baguette pieces and goat cheese on top – I will try that combination too! Thanks for the idea! About the beans, unfortunately you do have to throw them after you have heated them in the oven – they get too dry to be cooked again.
you know we just need to spring for the weights that they sell at kitchen stores – kind of like metal marbles – that you put into the pastry shell. Can’t keep throwing beans out!!!