This simple mushroom dish works well as a topping toasted bread with melted cheese, but it would also be great on top of a steak or burger, mixed with pasta, or served on top of some polenta. Or, if you're me, just pile them on my plate and eat them like a vegetable side dish.
This uses the red cooking wine from Holland House. If you're curious why cooking wine can be sold at a grocery store that can't sell liquor - and why it can be sold to minors - it's because the wine has enough salt added so that you wouldn't want to drink it. On the other hand, that level of salt it just fine when you're using the wine for cooking.
I like to think these tarts are both rustic and elegant. Maybe we need a new word - rustigant? Maybe the difference is the way you cut the bread, but in the end it's all about the taste. And these taste pretty darned good.
These would be a great appetizer for the holidays, whether it's a comfy-cozy casual family affair, or something a little more upscale. If you like, you can make the mushrooms ahead of time and reheat them on the bread while you're melting the cheese.
For the mushrooms:
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
1 pound sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
General grinds black pepper
1/2 cup Holland House red cooking wine
Sliced toasted bread, rounds of French bread, or flatbreads
Cheese, as needed
To cook the mushrooms:
Melt the butter in a saute pan and add the onions. Cook, stirring for a minute or two until the onions start looking looking translucent, then add the mushrooms, pepper, thyme and wine.
Cook, stirring often, until all of the liquid is gone. You'll hear the sound of the cooking change from a simmering sound to a frying sound.
To make the toasts:
Choose a cheese that melts well - I chose a white colby cheese - and use as much as you like. I suggest a light touch, since the mushrooms are the star of the dish.
Top the breads with grated cheese and cook under a broiler just long enough to melt the cheese. Cut the bread into serving-sized pieces, then top each piece with some of the mushroom onion mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Thank you to Holland House who supplied product for my use and compensation for recipe creation. All words and ideas in this post are mine.
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