Mushroom and Asparagus Pie with Fresh Tomato Sauce


5 oz (150 g) fresh ceps (boletus edulis) wild field mushrooms or large closed or open cap cultivated mushrooms
18 large asparagus spears
2 - 2 1/2 oz (60 g) celeriac
1 large shallot
1 sprig thyme
1 tbsp chopped basil
3 oz (80 g) Emmenthal cheese
3 oz (80 g) smoked cheese
8 - 9 oz (250 g) packed frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
1 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

for the fresh tomato sauce:

1 lb (500 g) ripe tomatoes
1 - 1 1/2 tbsp capers
1 small anchovy fillet
1/2 clove garlic
generous pinch oregano
4 - 5 basil leaves, finely chopped
1 lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) mark 6. Trim and wipe or rinse and dry the mushrooms. If dried mushrooms are used, allow 1 1/2 - 2 oz (40 - 60 g), soak in warm water for at least 30 minutes then drain, squeeze out excess moisture and blot dry. Prepare the asparagus and steam or boil until they are just tender.

2. Peel the celeriac, grate it fairly coarsely and immediately saute it in a large nonstick frying pan or saucepan over a moderate heat in a little butter, until it is wilted. Season and set aside.

3. Cook the finely chopped shallot in 2 tbsp olive oil in the non-stick frying pan with the mushrooms and thyme until just tender. Add the chopped basil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir and remove from the heat.

4. Grate the two types of cheese, keeping them separate.

5. Roll out the pastry into a fairly thin, square sheet on a lightly floured board or working surface. Cut the square in half and place one half on a greased baking tray or in a Swiss roll tin.

6. Beat the egg lightly in a small bowl or cup and brush half of it all over the surface of this first pastry sheet, using a pastry brush, using about half the egg and stopping short of the edges.

7. Spread out the mushroom mixture evenly over the glazed surface, stopping 1/2 in (just over 1 cm) short of the edges all the way round. Arrange half the asparagus spears head to tail, spacing them out evenly in a single layer on top of the mushroom mixture. Cover them evenly with the celeriac. Top with the Emmenthal.

8. Arrange another layer of the remaining asparagus and top with the grated smoked cheese. Cover with the other half of the pastry and seal the edges well by pressing them together all the way round. Brush the remaining beaten egg all over the surface of the pie and sprinkle evenly with the poppy seeds. Bake for 20 minutes.

9. Make the sauce. Blanch, peel and seed the tomatoes and place them in the blender. Add the capers, anchovy, garlic, oregano, 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper and process at high speed until smooth. Stir in the chopped basil and a little lemon juice. Serve with the hot pie.

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