The second course of last week's Valentine's Day Dinner was a mushroom crostini with roasted garlic. I loved this dish for a multitude of reasons - it was hella easy (that's my most important criteria), it had lots of mushrooms and ample amounts of roasted garlic, and it's called "crostini". Doesn't that just make it sound super-fancy? I could've called it "mushrooms on toast", which is what it is, but it doesn't sound nearly as awesome. Ahh, language.
Roasting garlic does indeed take a little extra time, but it's so low-maintenance and can be done in advance - it's the second easiest way to fancy up a dish, aside from calling it "crostini".
These 'shrooms were my "intro to home wine cookery" class, because since I'm at food school eight hours a day, all food ends up being my lesson, whether I'm at school or not. The lesson was this: Marsala wine is badass because it makes mushrooms taste great, and can be stored in the fridge for a long time, unlike other wines, which need to be consumed within a day or two of opening. Don't get me wrong, I love drinking a glass of wine while cooking, but not three quarters of a bottle. That's why wine cookery is best saved for romantic dates or food parties - not so great when you're flying solo in the kitchen.
Mushroom Crostini with Roasted Garlic
Makes 4 crostini
1 teaspoon olive oil or margarine
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced, preferably an exciting variety (shiitake, button, oyster, cremini, etc)
Splash of soy sauce
Splash of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup marsala wine
1/4 cup vegetable broth
4 fresh thyme sprigs
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 small slices of toasted bread (crusty bread, or use a circular cookie cutter on regular bread)
1 head of roasted garlic*
*To roast garlic, cut off the top of the head (to expose the tops of all the cloves), drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and bake at 400 F for about 30 minutes, until the cloves are soft and can easily be squeezed out of the garlic head.
In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sliced mushrooms and cook until they soften and start releasing moisture, 5-7 minutes. Add a splash of soy sauce and red wine vinegar to add flavor and moisture, and to prevent the 'shrooms from sticking. Deglaze the pan with the marsala wine and vinegar, adding the thyme sprigs, and cook until most of the liquid has reduced, about 7 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and remove the thyme sprigs before serving.
Spread a thin layer of roasted garlic on your crostini, and then top with a big spoonful of the mushroom mixture, garnishing with more fresh thyme if you desire. You could use a wide variety of bread vehicles, but try to keep the bread pieces small-ish, for the sake of eating ease. Or just go all out and eat a giant serving on a big piece of bread, who am I to stop you - it would definitely be delicious.
Mike: Above is my version of the crostini. Pretty much the same recipe, just a different variety of mushrooms. It wasn't that long ago that we first started experimenting with adding a lot of liquid to sauteed veggies before letting them cook down. With something like this, the amount of liquid definitely doesn't have to be exact. Add more broth or more wine as you see fit, it just means more flavor in the end! The only thing to watch out for is the added salt that comes with more broth, but if you happen to use homemade broth you could keep the sodium low and boil down an entire cup of flavor into each serving of mushrooms. This is definitely a good recipe to play around with and modify. Use it as a base and add your own flare to it, or do it just like we did for a delicious appetizer!
Stayed tuned over the next few days to see the rest of the recipes from our Valentine's Day Dinner extravaganza!