Friday, April 9, 2010

Tasty Mushroom Bites, Quick and Easy Party Food


 When I was looking for an appetizer to serve at the Trifecta last Sunday, I was constrained by certain family dietary requirements. Some people would eat one thing, others could not eat others. Salad was out (don't ask) soup would be "too filling" according to my mother. What to do. What I needed was a tiny tasty bite. An "amuse bouche"was called for. But how to amuse the mouths of this crowd?
  I decided on a crostini, a neat snappy little bite of toasted bread and topping. When we'd eaten at the Michelin starred Sante Restaurant, we'd been served a crostini topped with a salmon mousse. Perhaps something similar would work for me.
  I went on the hunt and studied every crostini recipe I could find that contained anything these picky people would eat. Finally I stumbled across a recipe at Epicurious attributed to Bonnie Wilkins Metully of Cincinnati, Ohio. A bit of tinkering and I had adapted the recipe to my familys' Easter/Birthday/Anniversary lunch. Here's what I did.
  Start off with :
1 long skinny sourdough baguette
 Slice it into round slices as if making bruschetta
   In a large heavy skillet  melt
3 Tbs of unsalted butter
In the butter saute:
3 large shallots finely minced
8 oz sliced chopped white mushrooms
6 to 8 oz of chopped baby bella or crimini mushrooms
  When the mushrooms have cooked down and softened add in:
1/2 cup of half and half
 Cook down further until all the liquid  is absorbed. Take the pan off the heat and add in:
2 oz of  crumbled sweet Gorgonzola cheese
2 oz of finely chopped proscuitto.
   Set this aside.  (Note: this mixture can be made up to a day ahead of time and kept refrigerated. Easy peasy) .
  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a cookie sheet place the little slices of bread. Brush with a bit of olive oil and bake in the oven for about 6 minutes or until they crisp. (This can also be done on a grill as we did since our oven was full).
Take the bread out of the oven. Place a teaspoon of the topping on each slice and slide the cookie sheet back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.
Sprinkle a bit of chopped Italian parsley on top of each crostini and serve.
 I wish I had a better picture to show, but my Italian dinnerware blended into the food on this one.
  I used part of the loaf and gave each person 3 little crostini. I had 8 at table. This would make a great finger food for any party gathering. It has a lot going for it in that it can be made ahead and then put together in just 10 to 15 minutes. Sweet.
 What did the impossible to please family think of it? They loved it. My mother wanted the recipe. I had to ask her,  "Now, aren't you glad you have a kitchen?"

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