I wrote this recipe to keep in the hopper and post when I got to school and didn't have time to write. Funnily enough, we have spent the entire first week of school essentially cooking this dish. Again. And again. And again.
Mushrooms on toast is an awesome old-school dish - it works for a party, a late night dinner or topped off with a poached egg for brunch. It doesn't look so pretty. But it tastes so good, who cares?
Rather than the "mushrooms a la creme" that keeps cropping up at Ballymaloe, this recipe is an adaptation of one that I learned during the Pro 1 Series at the New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA. I couldn't stop pinching mushrooms straight out of the pan, awaiting toast and the rest of the class be damned. The mixture of cognac, champagne vinegar, lemon juice and creme fraiche makes a rich, intensely flavored glaze that stands head and shoulders over every other recipe I've tried.
The original recipe calls for roasting the mushrooms at 400F. I simplified the recipe, cooking everything on the stovetop to create a few less dishes.
Try to use creme fraiche if you can. The fat content helps resist curdling when you add it to the hot mushrooms. I have attempted to sub in cream, yogurt, mascarpone... And I've had some nasty results. At the end of the day, the creme fraiche really makes the dish - find it in the cream section of your supermarket.
Yield: Serves 8-10 as a starter
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 20 min Total Time: 30 min
2 shallots, minced
3 Tbs butter
1 Tbs cognac or 3 Tbs sherry
1 Tbs champagne or sherry vinegar
1 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs creme fraiche
1 lb / 450 g mixed mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 tsp thyme leaves
3 cloves garlic, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Good quality crusty bread, sliced
Heat skillet over medium and melt butter. Saute the shallots for about 5 minutes til translucent. Add the cognac or sherry and let alcohol cook off, about a minute. It may flame if you use cognac - watch out!
Remove from heat and scrape into a bowl. Mix in vinegar, lemon juice and creme fraiche. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Wipe out skillet. Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, thyme and garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally, til water is cooked out and mushrooms are tender, about 8-10 minutes. If your pan is on the small side, cook the mushrooms in 2 batches. You want them to get a nice browning, so don't overcrowd the pan.
Turn heat to very low if you're on a gas stove or off if you're on an electric range. Add all mushrooms to skillet and fold in creme fraiche mixture. Let heat in the skillet for another 2-3 minutes.
Brush bread with remaining olive oil. Toast or cook over high heat in a grill pan til crispy around the edges.
Top bread slices with mushroom mixture and serve.