Mushrooms and cream go way back in Russian cooking. In my family, we often cooked chanterelles (which were dirt cheap in Russia, can you believe it?) with onions, herbs and sour cream to mix with pasta for a deliriously glorious dish.
Here in America, chanterelles are a bit too pricey for most of us and aren’t the easiest mushroom to locate. But cremini mushrooms are widely available in most supermarkets, so I decided to try my hand at substituting those instead. With some white wine and a dash of heavy cream blended with sour cream (it’s Russian, so of course there’s sour cream), my mushrooms turned out to be quite heavenly. I stood in my kitchen, licking my spoon and contemplating the mushrooms’ future fate. With so many holiday parties around the corner, they would make an excellent topping for a cracker or, better yet, some buttered, toasted pieces of brioche.
I toasted a few pieces, cut off the crusts and created four cute little bite-sized brioche squares from a single slice of bread. Then I dolloped some of the creamy mushrooms on top, and the rest is history. Next time we’re invited to some celebratory soiree, we’ll be coming with some bubbly as well as these mushrooms in tow. Even if there’s no toasted brioche to be found near, crackers will do just fine as vehicles for this lovely appetizer.
Creamy Mushrooms on Toast
Makes 24 toasts
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
1 sprig thyme
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 slices brioche, toasted, crusts removed if preferred, each piece cut into 4 squares
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
1. Using a cloth or paper towel, clean mushrooms to remove the grit and dirt. Finely chop mushrooms and set aside.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Sauté shallots and thyme until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining butter and mushrooms and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add the wine, reduce heat to medium, cover and sauté 5 minutes until the alcohol has evaporated.
3. While the mushrooms cook, in a small bowl stir together the heavy cream, sour cream, salt and pepper. When wine has mostly evaporated, stir the dairy mixture and the chives into the mushrooms until combined. Remove from heat. Spoon mushroom mixture on toasted bread. Sprinkle with chives if you like.
Olga Massov, is a freelance food writer and recipe developer. In her past life, she spent a decade working in finance, but now gets to assist the likes of Melissa Clark and Andrew Scrivani. Olga writes a bi-weekly column for the Cooking Channel blog, and has been featured by Saveur.com, BonAppetit.com, and GourmetLive, among others. Her other work can be found on www.sassyradish.com and her twitter handle is @sassyradish.
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