If you’ve been following this blog for any time, you know that I am a lover of mushrooms. Which is why I contributed this recipe for Brown and Wild Rice Mushroom Risotto to the Mushrooms Canada blog back in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month. I eat mushrooms on an almost daily basis, starting with my scrambled eggs in the morning. One of my favorite things to eat is mushroom toasts. I feel a bit silly offering up a recipe, since there isn’t much to it. You simply fry some mushrooms in a pan with a bit of butter, add a sprinkling of a herb or two, and serve it in a jumble on slices of crusty French baguette. Except I’ll be the first one to admit that I was almost forty when I discovered you should never crowd a pan with mushrooms, lest they steam instead of getting nicely browned–crucial to a fine mushroom toast. Everyone needs a little direction.
First, start with a mixture of mushrooms. Button mushrooms are okay but a little ho hum. I like to get an organic mix of baby mushrooms at my local market, but the last time I made mushroom toasts I splurged for a heaping handful of chanterelles. I could have gone for a sushi lunch for the price of those mushrooms, but their buttery, meaty goodness was worth the splurge and I enjoyed every bite. I also love crimini mushrooms, those sexy little baby portabellas once as rare as a good hair day for Donald Trump but now easily found at every corner Safeway.
My version of mushroom toasts have a bit of a French twist, with shallots, thyme, and a dollop of crème fraiche for extra richness, but feel free to experiment with the basic ratio of eight ounces (227 grams) of mushrooms for four people, to two tablespoons (30ml) fat–I prefer a mixture of butter and olive oil. You can add a splash of cognac, top them with cheese and put them under the broiler, or simply sprinkle them with Parmesan. Adding a few crumbles of Roquefort is also a very good idea.
I’m don’t know what you’ll be eating this New Year’s Eve, but these will definitely be on my table.
12 slices French baguette, toasted and cut on the diagonal
1 garlic clove, minced
8 ounces (227 grams) mushrooms, sliced
2 large shallots, minced
1 tablespoon (15ml)butter
1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
splash white wine
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
fresh thyme leaves
fresh chopped parsley
freshly ground pepper
dash lemon juice
4 tablespoons (60ml) grated Parmesan cheese
1) Melt butter and olive oil in a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Add shallots and soften for about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer, stirring; do not allow garlic to burn. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium high. Making sure not to crowd the pan, fry mushrooms until they are golden brown and no liquid remains in the pan. Add a splash of white wine and cook off until evaporated.
2) Take mushrooms off heat and mix in the lemon and crème fraiche. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then stir in thyme and parsley. Serve immediately on 4 small individual plates, topping baguettes slices with mounds of the mushroom mixture, followed by 1 tablespoon of Parmesan.
Bon Appetit and Happy New Year!