It’s important to have a go-to appetizer recipe for when company visits. I am talking about the kind of recipe that is not only delicious, but is also a cinch to make. When that recipe happens to be healthy too, it’s an added bonus.
One of my favorite recipes is bruschetta. Normally this classic Italian dish consists of toasted bread topped with chopped fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil. While it’s difficult to beat that winning combination, nothing is more satisfying and decadent (but magically good for you) than a roasted mushroom version. Mushrooms are loaded with umami, a sense of taste that literally means “yummy” or “delicious” in Japanese. Umami is the brothy, meaty and savory flavor of glutamate. These include foods such as cheese, tomatoes, meat, soy and yes, mushrooms.
What’s great about umami-rich mushrooms is that they make a dish feel big and robust or “meaty” even if there’s no meat. This makes for a highly satisfying eating experience. And that’s not all! Mushrooms are nutritional gems. They are a good source of B vitamins as well as potassium and contain the mineral and antioxidant selenium. And some types of mushrooms, especially those exposed to UV light, are also a good source of vitamin D.
Food Safety Tip: Properly clean your mushrooms before cooking them. The best method is to use a mushroom brush or a clean, damp cloth or paper towel to wipe them off. You can also rinse them under cool, running water, then pat dry. Avoid soaking mushrooms; they readily absorb water, which prevents them from browning properly and causes them to spoil faster.
Roasted Mushroom Bruschetta
- 8 ounces mixed mushrooms (cremini, portabello, shiitake*), cleaned, stems removed, roughly chopped
- 1 small shallot, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- ½ whole wheat baguette, sliced thinly on the bias (about 16 slices)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup shredded fontina cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, washed and chopped
- 1 head roasted garlic (see recipe below)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Place the clean, chopped mushrooms and shallots in a mixing bowl and add the salt, pepper and the first amount of olive oil. Toss to combine then spread out onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Roast for 20-25 minutes, until mushrooms are browned, tossing once halfway through cooking time. Remove from the oven, add the fresh thyme and toss to combine.
- Prepare the toasts: Place the bread on a sheet pan. Brush the tops with the remaining olive oil. Food safety tip: Be sure the brush is clean and hasn’t been used on raw meats to avoid cross-contamination. Place in the oven on a separate rack and bake for 5-8 minutes, until tops are lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and cool slightly, but you must refrigerate within 2 hours.
- Spread the top of each toast with roasted garlic then top with 1 tablespoon of the mushroom mixture. Garnish with fontina cheese and chopped parsley.
- Bake uncovered in oven for 25 to 30 minutes until edges begin to lightly brown.
- 1 head of garlic, loose papery layers removed
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Slice off the top of the head of garlic to expose the cloves.
- Place the garlic with the cut end up on a piece of foil then drizzle with oil. Fold up the sides of the foil and loosely close at the top. Place on a sheet pan or directly on the rack in the oven.
- Roast until tender, about 25-30 minutes.