When we first started dating, and before Z was willing to reveal that grad school tuition had drained his savings, we went out to a lot of fancy dinners (the things guys do to impress girls!). Once this information was revealed, however, we started to cook together a lot more. In addition to being a good way to save our wallets, it also became a new way of connecting to each other.
Inviting people over and introducing each other to friends over meals that we made also encouraged us to try taking some of our simpler recipes and making them more exciting. We enjoyed riding the learning curve and poured over new ideas and bought nicer ingredients.
The recipe below we have made a number of times now, for our friends, for our families and for ourselves, but our first attempt at it was for one of Z’s best friends from college and his (then) fiancee (now wife). These friends came back recently for Z’s birthday and made us feel incredibly honored when they asked us to put this recipe up on the blog because they liked it (and they said they didn’t even like mushrooms!). So from one A/Z couple to another:
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)
1/2 cup chopped shallots (one large shallot)
2 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
1 cup chopped oyster mushrooms
1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
3/4 cup grated fontina
1/4 cup grated parm
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp minced rosemary
36 1/2 in thick baguette slices
8 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves pressed
Start by chopping the mushrooms and dicing the shallots. Toss into a sautee pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil and sautee until soft. Add some freshly ground black pepper to taste. (Hold on the salt because the cheese is salty.) Cook the mushrooms until they are soft and dark, and even a little brown — about 15 min. Then add the cream.
Set aside the remaining 6 tbsp of olive oil and press the garlic into it. Allow it to sit.
Grate the fontina and the parm and slice the bread.
Combine the mushrooms and shallot mixture with the cheeses. Spread the olive oil and garlic mixture onto the baguette slices (generously — if it drips over the edges and gets under the slices as well that’s good) and then top with the mushroom mixture. (This last part is the biggest difference between our recipe and the original. We have tried it multiple ways and think that this addition is key.)
Cook under the broiler for 3 minutes and serve hot.
This is a lot to eat on your own (we’ve been doing it, but we’ve had left overs for sure), but it is great for guests and maybe even for a party. Who knows, maybe they’ll even ask for the recipe!