Mushrooms were feared and loved by the ancient Romans. Agrippina allegedly murdered her fourth husband, Emperor Claudius, with mushrooms so that her son, Nero, could rise to power. On frescoes in Pompeii there are depictions of chanterelles and truffles. Because of their mysterious growth and the fact that they lack visible roots, mushrooms were considered excrementa terrae, or excrements of the earth during Medieval England.
Rosemary was one of the most used plants in ancient Roman gardens. In both Greece and Rome, was used in funeral rites and was also worn by young couples at their marriage ceremonies – both traditions were linked with remembrance and enduring affection. Students twined sprigs of rosemary in their hair to sharpen their memories. Placed under the pillow at night, the herb was also thought to prevent nightmares.
For the dough:
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1/3 cup ice water
1 cup flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
For the filling:
1 pound assorted mushrooms – shiitake, oyster, porcini or Portobello
3 tablespoons AVOCARE Extra Virgin Avocado Oil + plus more for brushing
¼ cup onion, diced
4 plum tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400° F.
- Stir the buttermilk and 1/3 cup ice water together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir with a fork to mix. Drop the cold butter pieces into the bowl and using fingers work the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the cold buttermilk mixture to the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with your hands to distribute evenly. You may not need all of the buttermilk. Gather the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and chill.
- Meanwhile, wipe the mushrooms and thinly slice. Heat the oil in a wide skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Raise the heat, add the mushrooms and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomatoes and rosemary and season with vinegar. Taste, adjust seasoning and set aside.
- Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 1/8-inch thick circle. Transfer the rolled out dough to glass or metal pie tin brushed with avocado oil. Spread most of the cheese over the dough, leaving a 1 ½-inch border. Add the mushroom mixture over the cheese and cover with the remaining cheese.
- Lift the edges of the dough and fold them inward over the filling, pleating as you go, to create a folded-over border.
- Dip a pastry brush in avocado oil, giving the edges of the crust a light coating and bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden and cheese is bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This recipe is from AVOCARE spokesperson, Maite Gomez-Rejón. Visit her site ArtBites here.