mushrooms on toast is better

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Do you ever feel bad for mushrooms? I do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve casually glanced over the mushroom bin at the market without a second thought. Thankfully I am not one of those people with a fungus complex – an unfortunate stigma cast over such a versatile ingredient.

Not long ago I was strolling through the produce at the market when those damn things were starring me down. In a moment of pity and weakness, I bought the lot. I knew I was going for a soup or some kind of sauce, and after some quick googling I came across an old Jamie Oliver recipe for a Mushroom Bruschetta… And here we sit.

Here is the Jamie-O recipe copy & pasted: (…lazy? yes)

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 11 ounces mixed wild mushrooms, wiped clean (I used Cremini, Oyster & Button)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, 1 peeled and finely chopped, the other halved
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • A few sprigs of fresh parsley, leaves picked
  • A sprig of summer savory, leaves plucked (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 dried red chili, crumbled
  • A small knob of butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread

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Put a large heavy frying pan, big enough to hold all the mushrooms in one layer, over heat and add a couple of glugs of extra virgin olive oil. Depending on the size of your mushrooms, leave any small ones whole but tear, break or slice the larger ones up. Add them all to the pan and give it a shake to toss the mushrooms in the oil.

Add the chopped garlic and fresh herbs and shake the pan again. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and the crumbled chili and leave to fry gently for a few minutes. If the mixture becomes dry, pour in a little more oil.  Once the mushrooms have got some color going on, after about 3-4 minutes, add the butter and a squeeze of lemon juice to give a nice twang — don’t go overboard here, you don’t need much — and toss again.

To finish this off and make it into a lovely, creamy sauce, spoon 2-3 tablespoons of water into the pan. Simmer for a little longer, until you have a lovely simple sauce that just loosely coats the mushrooms. Now toast your bread.  When toasted, rub the bread with the cut side of the remaining clove of garlic. Place each slice on a serving plate, pile the mushrooms and the creamy juices from the pan on top and tuck in. So good!

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This recipe is actually so good, and far more versatile that just ‘on toast’. This can be served as a side on its own, tossed with pasta, thrown on fish or chicken, etc. I would still recommend that you try it this way for the first time – this recipe takes 15 minutes and it tastes like you’ve cheated your way to something special. And don’t be fooled – mushrooms in the right quantity and cooked properly can be your entire meal.

Life is good – mushrooms are better.

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