With race day celebrations happening across the country on Tuesday, we thought this simple, chic finger food recipe from Williams-Sonoma would be just the ticket today. It’s fast and simple to prepare (yet looks deceptively fancy), it’s easy to eat standing up with a Champagne glass in the other hand (essential criteria for Melbourne Cup snacks), and it is actually deliciously filling (also important when imbibing bubbles).
The other great thing about this super easy canapé is that it’s meat-free yet packed with flavour. That’s the magic of mushrooms: they have that deliciously deep, savoury flavour known as “umami”, which comes from the natural glutamates found in all foods with protein (and also found in parmesan and Vegemite).
The key to making this bruschetta really shine? Use a mix of different mushrooms. Supermarkets now stock a fantastic array of Australian-grown varieties year-round including buttons, Portobello, Swiss brown, oyster, shiitake, king brown and shimeji. If you’re particularly keen, try your local farmers’ market for fresh and local wild mushrooms such as Slippery Jacks or pine mushrooms – just be sure to ask the growers’ advice on how best to prepare these varieties for cooking.
Always avoid washing or peeling mushrooms; they only need a light brushing to remove excess dirt and a wipe over with a damp paper towel. Trim any woody stems, but otherwise don’t cut them up too much – the different shapes and colours will add great visual impact to your bruschetta.
It’s also always worth using the best cheese you can find – if you can’t find fresh goat’s cheese at your local deli or you just don’t like the flavour, try a 50/50 mix of feta and ricotta instead.
STYLING TIP Party food like this is best presented as generously and simply as possible. Take a large wooden board or serving platter, top with bruschetta, and set down in easy reach of your guests along with a pile of colourful washed-linen napkins and a tray of drinks – and the TV, of course!
- 2 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 250g assorted mushrooms such as Swiss brown, shiitake, oyster or king brown, stemmed, and halved or quartered
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 slices sourdough bread
- 125 g soft fresh goat’s cheese
- Fresh chives, chopped
Warm a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil and warm until the butter melts. Add the mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt and saute, stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to release their juices, 2-3 minutes.
Toast the bread, then arrange on a platter. Spread each piece with a thin layer of goat’s cheese.
Top the toasts with the mushrooms, dividing evenly, sprinkle with chives, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve right away. Makes 8 bruschetta.
–This recipe is adapted from one in Cook Good Food. Head to Williams-Sonoma for more foodie inspiration, or book a cooking class in their Sydney Cooking School.