There is a one type of party food, besides chips, that I tend to ignore--a plate of raw vegetables and the white dip that accompanies them. And the arguments that carrots are good for your eyes, celery for your vitality, and broccoli for everything else do not convince me to move any closer in their direction. I love all those vegetables in any kind of dish, and I do eat them raw in salads, as I am huge veggies lover, but the idea of crunching them at a party, especially when a glass of wine is served, seems awkward to me. I do not come to a party to watch my diet, but to enjoy myself, or even indulge in foods that are not necessarily on my doctor's "must eat" list.
For that reason I am always happy to find a new recipe for a party snack, especially one that can make the party experience complete, even if you are hosting people just for drinks. A good party snack is a nice touch and it shows that you care. I often serve, with great success, blue cheese and pear snacks. Those tiny toasts do not require much preparation but are much more attractive and satisfying than chips and crunchy veggies.
This one is another such party idea, especially since wild mushrooms are now in season. I served it once to my guests as a dinner appetizer. From the whole dinner it was one of my friend's favorite part. On the way home he was raving about those snacks to my other friend, not to mention that he had at least twenty of them that night. As holiday party season approaches, I dedicate this recipe to those party organizers who would like to move beyond serving chips and crunchy veggies.
The original recipe calls for wild mushrooms, but since they are not so easily available in the United States, you can use white mushrooms, or a mix of white, shiitake, portobello, or any mushrooms you can buy.
(Adapted from Bon Appétit--serves 6-8 people)
1 baguette cut into slices quarter inch thick,
2 tbsp butter,
2 tbsp olive oil,
5 cups (about 12 oz) mushrooms,
2 garlic cloves,
1/4 cup table cream,
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary,
1 cup grated Fontina cheese,
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan,
salt and pepper to taste.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Chop shallots and saute on melted butter for about one minute.
3. Chop all the mushrooms and saute them for 6-8 minutes, until well cooked, almost brown.
4. Add crushed garlic and cook together for one minute.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and add rosemary, cream, salt, and pepper. Mix and let cool.
6. Add shredded Fontina and Parmesan.
7. Cover each piece of baguette with one tsp of mushrooms topping and place on a baking sheet slightly greased with oil.
8 Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crostini become gold and cheese is melting.
I have made a few modifications to the original recipe. I replaced the heavy whipping cream with table cream, to save some calories, skipped the lemon peel and bake the entire crostini at once, instead of baking first the baguette slice and later broiling them with the topping. They turned out to be perfectly crispy and strong in taste. A wonderful wine accompaniment.