And I shall just say that I was actually OK with how it all ended (yes, a few minor hitches, but I'm choosing to cling to the happy glow instead of picking it apart until I'm all CrankyPants about it), and was really happy because I always wanted Hugo to be the one. Yay! Also, I have decided the hubs needs to dress up as Nestor/Richard Alpert for Halloween, because he is just so pretty. So very, very pretty.
Oh. Right. Food.
This crostini came about completely by accident. In planning the Mother's Day Menu and scouring the fridge before hitting the store, I came across a package of pre-sliced shiitake mushrooms in the vegetable drawer, and so decided I could easily turn them into something tasty.
First I sautéed the shiitake mushrooms in a pan with about 2 TBSP olive oil and 1 TBSP of butter. (Try not to crowd the pan or your mushrooms will just come out rubbery instead of tender and slightly browned.)
Cooking those until beginning to brown, I then added about half a minced shallot (Go for garlic if making this for someone who is not allergic to garlic. I'd use one large or two small cloves, grated into a paste.) salt and about a teaspoon of dried thyme that I crushed between my fingers before sprinkling in.
(I would have preferred fresh, but I was working with a strange pantry.)
After another minute or so of cooking I deglazed the pan with white wine, (maybe 1/2 cup but I was eyeballing it) and let that cook down for a few minutes. Once most of the wine had cooked away I added about 1/3 cup of heavy cream, and again let that cook down, maybe another 4 minutes. You'll know it's ready when the pan doesn't have much of a noticeable sauce in it anymore. Rather, just the reduced wine-cream sauce coating the mushrooms.
On the toasted bread I spread a cheese akin to St. André, but any slightly tangy spreadable cheese would do. (You don't want the flavor of the cheese to overwhelm the subtlety of the shitake mushrooms. The cheese was really just glue with which to keep the mushrooms on the toast. Also, excuse to eat cheese.) I then spread the mushroom mixture on top and set them in the oven for a few minutes, just to make sure the cheese and the mushrooms melted together a tiny bit.
If making these mushrooms for crostini again, I would substitute 1/4 cup brandy or cognac in place of the white wine in the deglazing stage. I think it would add much more flavor to the dish, but as I was making this off the cuff, I only decided that at the end. When tasting in the pan, the mushrooms were delicious and I did a little happy dance in a circle. With the bread as an added component tho, I craved a little more zing from the mushrooms. (It could also have just been the particular white wine I was using. It was a very light and fresh white from around Venice.)
However, if just using these mushrooms as a pasta sauce, the white wine should suffice, but then I would use a bit more wine and cream (maybe another quarter cup each) so there would be more sauce to coat the pasta.
Either way, very, very tasty mushrooms.
I think I shall be making these again later this week when the hubs heads to Philly...