Traditional bruscheta is fresh tomato and basil on a crostini, and I love them. But there is no reason not to take that same technique and apply it to hundreds of different toppings. This recipe is a simple appetizer or h’ordeauvs that can be made ahead of time and assembled at the last minute. It’s also great to make this with a traditional tomato bruschetta as a counter point.
For me, the key is to sauté the mushrooms to well done which extracts the moisture out of the mushroom and concentrates the flavor. The addition of thyme and shallot are natural combinations with mushrooms, and using some goat cheese on the crostini provides a creaminess and texture that adds a wonderful component to the dish.
Ingredients for Mushroom Bruscheta
- Mushrooms – You can use any you’d like. I generally like a mixture of baby portabellas and shitake (don’t use the stems of the shitake – they are too tough). You’ll probably need about 5 medium size mushrooms per person
- One shallot
- Thyme – Fresh if you have it, dry if not
- Balsamic vinegar
- Flat leaf (Italian) Parsley – Don’t ever buy the curly stuff – it’s useless
- Goat cheese
- French baguette
The two critical components to this dish are flavor and texture. By cooking the mushrooms until they are well done, and have lost most of their moisture creates a delicious earth taste and aroma, that is heightened by the tartness of the balsamic and goat cheese. Then the softness of the mushrooms next to the crunchiness of the toasted bread provide a wonderful contrast.
Cook the Mushrooms
- Dice the mushrooms into quarter inch dice
- Finely chop the shallot and about a tablespoon of parsley
- Heat up a pan, and once hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the mushrooms and season them with large pinch salt and pepper. Then toss the mushrooms to coat in the oil. Mushrooms have a tendency to “suck-up” olive oil in the pan, and you may have to add some additional oil. If the pan looks dry (you can see any oil) add an additional splash – repeat if needed
- After you’ve tossed the mushrooms in the pan, lower the heat to medium high, and let them sauté without shaking the pan or tossing them around. You’re trying to get a nice golden sear of the side of the mushroom touching the pan, and that won’t happen if you keep moving them around. After 3 – 4 minutes check some of the mushrooms for that golden color and once it’s there toss the mushrooms about in the pan and add the shallots and thyme.
- By this time, about 10 minutes total cooking time, the mushrooms should have lightly crisped edges and fairly firm texture – almost meat like.
- The shallots will soften in a few minutes, and add about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar for each 5-6 mushrooms you used. Again toss all the ingredients in the pan so that everything is coated.
- Turn off the heat and mix in a tablespoon of finely chopped parley
- The topping is done, and ready to be topped on the bread.
- To oil or not? Crostini is just a fancy word for toasted bread. In this case, we’re cut to make sizes about the width of a finger from a French baguette. Some say before toasting you should add a little drizzle of olive oil, others say you have to do it dry. I, while liking a bit of oil, say try it both ways and see what you like.
- Once you have the baguette sliced into rounds (I like at least two or three per person), drizzle a small amount of oil on one side (or don’t) and put on a sheet tray and into a 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes. One warning, bread can be tricky in an oven, and can go from nicely toasted to a rock in just a few minutes. I suggest checking every 5 minutes or so, and when you feel a crispy outside and a soft inside they are ready go
- I like to lay out all the crostini points and spread a thin layer of goat cheese on each. How much goat cheese? Depends on how much you like goat cheese. I will say too much can overpower the dish so you may want to start off using it sparingly. Really you’re looking for just enough to help the mushrooms stay on the toast.
- Top the now cheese crostini, with a generous portion of the mushroom mix and serve.