Monday, 5 January 2015

Mushrooms on Toast

Over the holidays we ate at several restaurants, and at one of them I had mushrooms on toast as an appetiser. Why didn't I think of that?! So simple, and so good. And so... here's my version.

You could serve these as canap├ęs, passed around on a tray (but I would use a  higher proportion of toast to mushrooms) or you could serve them as an appetiser, 2 toasts per person. I don't think they are quite the thing that most people would want to eat to make a full meal, but if you were serving a first course, a second course, and dessert, they would make an excellent first course with 3 slices of toast per serving. The recipe I am giving is half of what I made - the volume of which can be deduced from the picture - but maybe that's quite a lot. I'm not actually sure of that. We had, as ever, no trouble eating it all, with just a little salad on the side.

Use a mixture of oyster, shiitake, and button mushrooms if you can, but even just plain button mushrooms will be delicious. Whatever you use, discard any parts that are tough and woody when you trim them. I would have added a little splash of sherry if I had had any, but I didn't. Likewise, if there had been any parsley kicking around, a little scatter over the top would have given a nice touch of colour.

makes 2, 3, or 6 servings - easily doubled
30 minutes prep time

Mixed Mushrooms on Toast

6 slices baguette
150 grams mixed mushrooms
1 small shallot
1 large clove of garlic
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon rubbed savory or thyme
a pinch of celery seed, ground
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup light cream

Slice the baguette and set it aside; start to toast it once the mushrooms are in the pan and starting to cook down a bit. You can butter it or not, as you like, but keep in mind the mushrooms are pretty rich.

Clean, trim, and chop the mushrooms fairly coarsely. Peel and mince the shallot. Peel and mince the garlic.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it is sizzling, add the shallots, stir well, then the mushrooms. Let them cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until softened, slightly browned, and reduced in volume. Stir frequently. Once they are looking about three-quarters done to your liking, add the savory or thyme, the celery seed, salt, a good grind of pepper, and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the garlic, and cook for a minute or so. Stir in the balsamic vinegar until well mixed and absorbed, and then stir in the cream. As soon as it too is absorbed, leaving the mushrooms just moist, turn them out onto the slices of prepared toast.

Last year at this time I made Spicy Cornmeal Crisps and Rye & Potato Crackers. Which should apparently be made a week or two in advance, which is always (well, often) kind of handy.

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