Mushroom Toast

Mushrooms have this wonderful way of crisping up and soaking in flavor—this recipe uses garlic confit (basically garlic baked for an hour in olive oil), so it's rich and infuses the mushroom with a delicate garlic flavor. Then the mushrooms are cooked with a bit of white wine and creme fraiche, so it’s tangy, creamy and earthy. A pesto made with kale is much more robust than with traditional basil; I use pistachios and parmigiano for a subtle twist on the flavor. Layer all this onto grilled bread and it's the perfect starter for a fall meal, or great as a crostini for a cocktail party.


all units: U.S. Imperial

  • 2lbs mixed mushrooms (maitake, lions mane, oyster)
  • Garlic or shallot confit
  • 4oz crème fraîche
  • ½ c dry white wine
  • Fresh thyme or oregano
  • Flat-leaf parsley
  • Baguette or Country Loaf 
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt + cracked pepper 

For the Confit

  • 1-2 heads garlic 
  • and/or 3 shallots 
  • 1-2 bay leaf

For the Kale Pesto

  • 1 bunch Lacinto kale
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • ¼ raw, shelled pistachios 
  • ¼ c parmigiano reggiano 
  • ½ c extra virgin olive oil

Make the confit *this can be done up to a week in advance.

Preheat oven to 450 to make garlic or shallot confit. In an oven safe ramekin or dish, peel the garlic and/or shallots. Place in the baking dish with the bay leaf and cover in EVOO. Make sure that the garlic/shallot are completely submerged. Bake at 450 for 45 minutes.

Make the Kale Pesto *this can be done up to three days in advance 

Boil a pot of water, destem the kale. Once the water is boiling, add a pinch of sea salt and blanch the kale (cook the kale in water for 60-90 seconds) remove the kale from the water, and place in the blender with EVOO, parmigiano reggiano, pistachios and garlic. Add a pinch of sea salt + freshly cracked pepper. Blend until a chunky consistency is formed, smoother if preferred.

Make the mushroom toast.

Slice the bread into two thick slices or baguette into bite-sized pieces, drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with salt. Toast the bread in the broiler, in a cast iron skillet, or on the grill. Best to get some char marks on the bread. 

While the bread is toasting. Heat the garlic confit in a large skillet over medium, tear the mushrooms and brown in the pan with a pinch of salt. Be mindful of crowding the mushrooms, they will not brown if pan is full. You may need to work in batches. Once all the mushrooms have browned, toss them all in the pan. Add the white wine, and wait 2-4 minutes for the alcohol smell to cook off. Quickly stir the crème fraîche in the pan with the thyme or oregano. Add a pinch of flaky salt and fresh cracked pepper. Stir until the mixture forms a thick sauce to coat the back of a wooden spoon. You want it to be creamy and a bit runny.

Serve warm on charred bread with a smothering of kale pesto, and spoonful of mushrooms, finish with roughly chopped parsley leaves, another pinch of flaky sea salt. 

Note: sourdough is my preferred bread, I use a sourdough baguette for two-bite appetizers, or a thick slice of sourdough country loaf when serving for lunch or dinner. 

makes 2 starter servings, or appetizers for 6-10