Halloween is over. The Christmas lights are already up. That means one thing…the holidays are coming! Get ready people.
I’ve decided to ease you all in. I’m not going to post a recipe for roasted turkey or honey-glazed ham (at least not yet). We’re going to take this nice and slow. Roasted Mushroom Crostini is the perfect baby step. It is a great appetizer for any upcoming holiday party or festive gathering. You can also serve these up with a beautiful green salad and call it dinner.
These are a great appetizer because you can make the mushroom mixture ahead of time, it’s vegetarian and they are oh-so beautiful! I mean who doesn’t love bread and cheese? Speaking of cheese we have talk about this very special cheese I used for this appetizer. It’s an Italian called Crescenza-Stracchino. Previously, I had only seen it in restaurants but I recently found it in the grocery store by BelGioioso. It is an incredibly soft, creamy and slightly tangy cheese that is spreadable and melts beautifully. You, of course, could substitute a different cheese such as fresh mozzarella, ricotta, gruyere, manchego, etc.
However, I strongly recommend that you buy this cheese. It is so irresistibly decadent and addictive. (P.S. It’s from Wisconsin…woop woop!)
This is actually a “simple” recipe and it includes 7 ingredients: onions, garlic, mushrooms, sherry vinegar, crescenza, thyme and bread. Not too shabby. This recipe like so many that I write about uses the highest quality ingredients. That doesn’t necessary equate to the most expensive. It means the freshest, local and tastiest ingredients. For example, the small baby onions, mushrooms and cheese all came from Wisconsin which right next door to where I live. I bought the bread from a local bakery and the fresh thyme came from my backyard. Boom! That’s what I call local.
Besides using the best ingredients you also need some sound technique. Sautéing mushrooms is not as easy as you think. There are a few crucial steps. Some key things to keep in mind: hot pan, light coating of oil and do not over crowd the pan. Also, don’t salt the mushrooms until they are almost finished cooking.
I hope this recipe inspires you to buy a new cheese, makes you think more locally and also helps ease the anxiety of the holidays. Just take it one day at a time.
- 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
- ¼ cup thinly sliced onion
- 12 oz mixed mushrooms, sliced (cremini, shiitake, oyster, maitake)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 baguette, sliced into thin crostini about ¼” thick
- 5 oz crescenza-stracchino (such as Belgioioso)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
- Next add the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil and add the mushrooms in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan.
- Once the mushrooms are almost finished add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 1 minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the thyme leaves and sherry vinegar.
- Toast the slices of baguette in the preheated oven until lightly toasted, about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove the crostini from the oven and spread about ½ tbsp of crescenza-stracchino on each slice. Place the bread back in the oven and allow the cheese to melt and become gooey
- Top each slice of crostini with 1 tbsp of the mushroom mixture.