The “Potato, Cheese and Mushroom Pie,” from The Daily Spud, is an ambitious recipe that showcases the best qualities of puff pastry, mushrooms, and potatoes. The pie is rich and the potato texture is perfect; the fresh mushrooms are delightful and the dried chanterelles are intense. With a moderate amount of discipline, you can assemble and enjoy this wonderful pie.

This recipe requires pacing: defrost the sheet of puff pastry; soak the dried mushrooms (I used chanterelles instead of porcinis); slice and simmer the potatoes (I used waxy red potatoes, as the recipe’s author suggested); fry the fresh mushrooms in butter (I used criminis); fry the onion slices in more butter; fry the garlic, thyme, and rosemary; simmer those rehydrated mushrooms with the onions/garlic and now cream. Exasperating? Perhaps.

My chosen cheese was taleggio and it never disappoints me. I sprinkled in some cooked bacon to my pie filling, as well as 3 tsp. kosher salt. I did glaze the top of my puff pastry with beaten egg, so it browned beautifully. After baking for 30 minutes, the wonderful pastry had a great bite. Thyme and parsley were strong players in this pie/casserole game. My casserole was a bit wet at the bottom (mushroom liquid + cream), but I permitted this moisture as a lovely gravy. Show off with this potato pie.

Next, I got to use my favorite leaf in the “Escarole Salad with Provolone, Warm White Beans and Prosciutto Crisps,” from Three Many Cooks. I like the bite of escarole better than all the rest (for now!). Each element of this recipe is an easy winner for me: prosciutto, cannelinis, olives, provolone.

Crumbling and crisping prosciutto is such a cheap thrill, really. Then, the warmed beans and garlic will brilliantly wilt the escarole leaves; you just might gasp in amazement. Once you assemble and taste this salad, you will then dress it perfectly. I added 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. The kalamata olives, provolone, and red onion provide such heightened flavors to the mix. Make this salad and you will want to eat mountains of it.

PRICES
Red Potatoes (2.28 lbs.) = $1.71
Crimini Mushrooms (.88 lb.) = $2.88
Onion (1) = .55¢
Taleggio Cheese (7 oz.) = $3.18
Prosciutto (3 oz.) = $5.44
Cannelini Beans (15oz. can) = $1.68
Escarole (1 head) = $3.05
Red Bell Pepper (1 small) = .40¢
Red Onion (1 small) = .22¢
Provolone Cheese (3 oz.) = .71¢

RECIPES: admit your love for the good things: pastry, potatoes, cheese, mushrooms; lose yourself in escarole’s delights
PREP TIMES:
set aside two hours to prep and cook the potato pie; once you put the assembled pie in the oven, you can make the escarole salad
TASTES:
thyme, parsley, and mushroom intensities are enhanced by a creamy broth, blanketed by the best pastry crust; the rewarding leafy luxury of escarole is co-starred with crispy fried prosciutto, creamy beans, and sharp kalamata olives and provolone cheese

Next time, I want to cook the “Burnished Chicken Thighs with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Parsnips,” from the February 2006 issue of Fine Cooking, along with the “Fresh Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Crisps,” from the May 2009 issue of Vegetarian Times. Come back to my site soon, to see my meal.