Gorgonzola and mushrooms make for a particularly perfect pairing. Victoria shares a recipe for a simple tart is packed full of flavour and is knockout lunchtime treat.
I am a huge fan of blue cheese. In fact, I am drawn, like a moth to a flame, to any cheeseboard boasting anything nicely gooey. I’ve got nothing against a hard cheese – what would life be like without Parmesan or Cheddar? But, when I want something extra treaty, I more often than not go for blue.
Many people scowl, worriedly, at the sight of those beautiful veins of blue mould, having only experienced a particularly ripe Stilton one Christmas as a child, which put them off going back for more. But it’s time to man up. Blue cheese is a particularly grown-up taste. Like olives, red wine and whisky, a taste for blue cheese generally develops with age and, as such, you can hog it all to yourself and leave the tots to the Dairylea. I love Stilton as much as the next cheese-muncher, but Gorgonzola is a much creamier beast and, as such, a perfect introduction for those who suffer blue-phobia. It certainly has more punch than the slightly sweet Dolcelatte, another Italian blue cow’s milk cheese, and its flavour makes for the perfect blue cheese risotto or the filling for this knockout lunchtime tart.
I love the pairing of Gorgonzola with mushrooms, as there is a meatiness to the flavour combination and an umami depth that is intensely satisfying. This tart, though simple, is packed full of flavour and the richness of the blue cheese against the crisp flake of the pastry ticks all the boxes in my out-and-out culinary rejection of all things bland. You can, of course, use other blue cheeses, but why would you? Gorgonzola has exactly the right balance of earthiness to stand up to the mushrooms and thyme.
Gorgonzola, Mushroom and Thyme Tarts
Preheat the oven to 200°C )180°C fan)/390°F/Gas Mark 6
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
A few sprigs of fresh thyme, picked
100ml white wine
500g all-butter puff pastry
2 medium eggs
75ml double cream
Salt and pepper
Sweat the onion, garlic and mushrooms in a glug of olive oil until soft and slightly golden. Add the thyme and white wine with some salt and pepper and leave to reduce. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Roll out your puff to the thickness of a £1 coin and line 4 individual tart tins with it. Place the tart cases on a baking tray. Divide the cooled mushroom mixture between them. Crumble the Gorgonzola and press the cheese in any spare nook in between the mushrooms and on top.
In a jug, whisk the eggs and cream together and pour the mixture carefully over each tart. Pop the tarts in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and nicely puffed up. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before taking them out of the tart cases and serving with a fresh, green salad. I dressed my salad with apple balsamic, which went particularly well with the tarts.