I was invited to a Friendsgiving party on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and thought I would focus on an appetizer as my contribution. Since the meal would be ample, I wanted to have something that was on the lighter side, and thought mushrooms would really fit the bill.
Some tips: When working with fresh mushrooms, it’s important not to wash with water, or they will absorb it and get mushy. Instead, wipe any dirt off with a paper towel. If you are starting with dried, you will need to soak the mushrooms in lukewarm water for about an hour.
I looked for the most lively color mix when purchasing the ingredients (Eataly usually has a fantastic selection of fresh and dried wild mushrooms.) This mix includes: Yellow Oyster, Hedgehogs, Porcini (the most expensive, $25 for 3), Wood Ear, and White Beech Mushrooms. To complete the flavor profile, I added chopped hazelnuts, which really complemented the mushrooms flavors, in addition to adding a pleasurable crunch. The whole mix sits on a rich bed of creamy ricotta cheese atop a crispy baguette slice.
MAKES ABOUT 40 TOASTS
START THE MIX
1 TB olive oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt
In a large frying pan, heat oil, add shallots and salt. Cook on medium heat until the shallots begin to wilt and become lightly golden, about 5 min. Move to a large bowl.
SAUTE MUSHROOMS IN BATCHES
1 TB olive oil (for each batch)
1.5 LB mixed mushrooms, sliced thinly if large
s + p
fresh thyme leaves
In the same pan, add mushrooms. Cook in batches (do not crowd or mushrooms will not brown—allow space around them so that when the moisture flows out it will evaporate), stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 6 min. Add s + p, thyme to each batch. Transfer each batch to the bowl.
TOAST THE HAZELNUTS
1/2 CUP hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
On a hot skillet, toast nuts, tossing or stirring frequently with salt. Add to mushroom mix.
MAKE THE CROSTINI
long, skinny baguette, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
24 oz fresh ricotta cheese
Spread a generous layer of ricotta cheese onto each baguette slice. With a small spoon, top with mushroom mix, and press into the ricotta so it holds together. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.