There's a restaurant in my hometown of Decatur, GA called The Marlay. They used to have this decadent, delicious, simple appetizer called Mushroom Toast, and my mom and I loved it. For some reason, when they got a new chef, it was removed from the menu. My heart was broken.
Luckily, I remembered the flavors well enough to figure out how to make it myself and it could not be easier. So yesterday, after a particularly bad day where I just didn't know what to do with myself - aside from binge watch Cougar Town, again - I remembered I had half a baguette, a container of mushrooms, and a little heavy cream, and I was like, aw yesssss, this is what I need in my life right now.
This portioning could easily serve two, but it was Friday and I'd had a bad day and sweatpants are all that fits me right now...so this was all for me.
Start out by preheating your oven to 400 and slicing your bread - I made 5 slices because sometimes I like odd numbers in appetizers. Season the bread with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper. Actually! I have a trick I learned from Geoffrey Zakarian, season the pan. So I drizzle the pan with a little oil, s&p, and lay the bread on top. Then just drizzle the tops with more oil and s&p. This way you make sure there is flavor all around without getting messy.
Also, I didn't realize I wanted to blog about this until I was already making it so please excuse the quality of both my pictures and my most-used (thanks Karen!) but maybe not the prettiest sheet pan.
You're going to toast these 3 minutes per side in the oven.
Next, slice up 5 (there I go again) button mushrooms, stems removed. I sliced mine pretty thin but do yo' thang. And mince one clove of garlic. If you're not a big fan of garlic, you can leave it out, but I think it adds just the right....tang? heat? umami? IDK, garlicky goodness.
Also, if you don't like chopping garlic because the smell gets all over your hands, get you one of these, it is awesome and really and truly works. Just wash your hands pretending this is a little bar of soap (and an actual pump of liquid soap), and the smell is gone!
This appetizer is so quick that you can make the mushroom sauce while the bread toasts - literally takes 6 minutes.
So melt about 2 tbsp of unsalted butter in a pan. It may seem like a lot of butter for a small amount of mushrooms and garlic, but the extra butter helps create the sauce. We're almost making alfredo, just without the cheese.
At the time, this was just one tbsp, but I added another when the mushrooms absorbed all of it.
Add in your mushrooms, and saute until they get a little bit brown. We're not caramelizing.
THEN add your garlic and a pinch of salt. If you add the salt with the mushrooms alone, they will start to steam and give off water and you do not want that to happen, because it will make your sauce too thin. Also, If you add garlic before the mushrooms, it will cook too fast and burn before your mushrooms are finished.
Stir this around so the garlic starts cooking, about 30 seconds.
Pour in half to 3/4 cup heavy cream. Stir until it gets thick and bubbly...
...like this! Make sure you scrape the sides down as well - the way the cream thickens there will help make the sauce richer.
Keep stirring and cooking until the sauce has reached the thickness you desire. I like mine a little loose so the bread can soak it all up, but you could certainly cook it longer (maybe 1 minute more) if you want a really thick sauce.
Pour the sauce into a bowl, plate up the bread, and serve with a spoon.
This is a great appetizer for a cozy night in, when unexpected guests drop in, or when your husband is working so you're home alone but you've had a bad day and he doesn't eat mushrooms anyway so why not (ahem). Enjoy my friends!
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