How many times have you heard chefs, food writers, restaurant critics, and food lovers say, “Simple is best”? With the focus on local, fresh, sustainable, organic, and seasonal food, this statement has become somewhat of a mantra for the times. “Simple” only works if the ingredients are of the utmost quality. But what this means is that even the most humble of ingredients, used at the peak of their flavor, can transform “simple” to “amazing”. This dish epitomizes that concept: good bread, fresh brown mushrooms, olive (and a little truffle) oil, sea salt. That’s it! Oh, but the flavor…
I had some brioche dough leftover from making my breakfast pizza, so I baked it in a small loaf pan. The resulting slices are about three by two and a half inches in size; just right for appetizer or snack toasts. Cremini or baby bella mushrooms are sliced paper thin with a mandoline.
The bread slices get brushed with a little olive oil. I added a few drops of truffle oil as well, just to further highlight the mushroom flavor. Then the thin mushroom slices are shingled over the bread, covering the bread entirely. A little more oil brushed over the mushrooms, a sprinkle of salt, and into the panini grill they go. At least, that’s the easy way to do it. I used a grill pan, and it was a bit tricky to get the bread into the pan mushroom-side down. But it worked, so don’t rule this out for lack of a panini grill pan.
What results is crispy bread, embossed with delicate slices of mushroom, full of mushroom flavor. It’s perfect to enjoy with a glass of wine as an appetizer or snack. Of course, you can make this on a regular slice of bread, and enjoy it as an open-faced sandwich. You will have to adjust the quantity of mushrooms if choose this option. I urge you to give this one a try. It’s worth a little fussing to produce one of the tastiest mushroom toasts I’ve ever eaten.
- 12 to 16 Cremini or Baby Bella mushrooms
- 4 slices white , whole-wheat, or sourdough bread, or brioche*
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- A few drops of truffle oil (optional)
- Kosher salt , to taste
Combine the olive oil and truffle oil (if using)
Slice the mushrooms thinly with a mandoline (or a very sharp knife). You will be using the center slices with the stem pieces attached.
Brush each slice of bread lightly with oil. Flip the bread slices over and place the mushroom slices on the bread, starting at the top and working down. Overlap them slightly, so that the bread is completely covered. There will be about 18 slices of mushroom for each piece of bread. Brush the mushrooms gently with a little oil and sprinkle with salt.
Place the bread, mushroom side up, in a panini grill and close the grill over the bread, pressing lightly. Grill for about 3 minutes on medium-high, or until the bread is golden brown and the mushrooms are sizzling and cooked through.
*To make small toasts, use the same technique but use 9 to 12 slices of mushroom for each small piece of bread. If using a regular grill pan, heat the pan over medium-high heat and oil the grates well. Very carefully place the toast, mushroom-side down and immediately press with another heavy pan. Check after a minute or two, then flip the bread and grill the opposite side, again pressing down with a pan or grill pan press. Serve while hot and crisp.