Slip some baguette with Gruyère under a broiler.  Saute some mushrooms with garlic, shallots, herbs, broth and wine.  Spoon the mushrooms over the cheese toast.  Dinner is served.

I grew up in a house that revered mushrooms. In any form, but mostly on their own.  Just cooked up in a big cast-iron skillet with some garlic or onions.  Eating them on their own was his favorite, but my Dad also loved them with some rice, eggs, or chicken.  He’d have mushrooms any old way.  As a little kid, I wasn’t buying.   It didn’t take long, however, for me to jump on his bandwagon.

My first mushroom love was the famous mushroom stuffed with sausage.  That gave way to (Lord) the deep-fried variety with sauce.  All the while, regular old mushrooms slowly began to take part in my kitchen pageant.  One day I saw that I was buying mushrooms pretty much every time I went to the store.  Talking with my oldest son the other day, I woke up and realized he was talking about cooking up a big pot of mushrooms.  Never know what you’ll pass on.


Mushrooms are inexpensive.  They’re healthy.  They’re adaptable. They’re widely available and come in many varieties.  They add vegetable and “meat” value to any dish.  Mushrooms are quick to prepare and can be eaten raw, fried, baked, sauteed, braised, or boiled.  They’re fine on their own, as a perfect omelet filling, luscious crowded together on top a steak or piece of chicken, and they just make gravy.  What’s beef burgundy without mushrooms?   How about a burger?  Portobellos, grilled, or sauteed, are perfect in a bun with all the fixings.   I’m sure there’s more!

  I don’t know a whole lot about mushroom nutrition, but here are a few things I’ve discovered: they’re full of B vitamins and lots of minerals.  In a nutshell:

Mushrooms provide many of the nutritional attributes of produce, as well as attributes more commonly found in meat, beans or grains. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more. Read on to discover some of nature’s hidden treasures found in mushrooms.  more info:  mushroom.com

BTW:  If you’d like to pick wild mushrooms, be extremely careful, and get some training.  Many people become seriously ill every year eating poisonous mushrooms.  

You don’t need a big herb garden.  I just have a couple of fragrant pots right outside my front door.  A little dirt.  A little water.  Not much more.  In Colorado, we’re able to bring pots of herbs indoors for the winter.

When I realized mushrooms were up next on our 39 Healthiest Ingredients,  I began dreaming of  cooking up a big pot of them with yummy fresh herbs, shallots, etc., and spooning that over toasted baguette pieces that were topped with Gruyère.  Last night I stopped dreaming:

mushroom ragù on gruyère toast                  serves 4

  •  8 slices baguette 
  • 8 thin slices Gruyère cheese
  • 1  T each extra virgin olive oil and butter 
  • 1/4 t crushed red pepper 
  • 24 oz any mixed mushrooms, sliced (shitake, button, crimini, portobello) 
  • 2 shallots sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2T minced mixed fresh herbs (tarragon, marjoram, chives, parsley, sage, thyme are good choices)  plus a little extra reserved for garnish
  •  1/2 cup each chicken broth, low sodium and white wine
  •  1/4 t  each kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
 Place baguette slices, topped with the Gruyère cheese, on a baking sheet and broil for about 2 minutes or until cheese is browned and bubbly.  Remove from oven and place two cheese toasts in each of four shallow bowls. Set aside.

In a large, deep sauté pan, heat olive oil, butter, and crushed red pepper over medium heat.  Add mushrooms, shallots, and garlic.  Cook a few minutes without  stirring until mushrooms are browned.  Stir to turn mushrooms and add herbs, broth, wine, salt, and pepper.  Simmer for several  minutes, stirring occasionally until liquid is somewhat reduced.  Taste and adjust for seasoning. Divide mushroom mixture evenly over toasted cheese baguette slices. Garnish with reserved fresh herbs.  If desired, top with grated Parmesan.  Pass extra fresh ground black pepper at the table.

For vegan option:  skip Gruyere and brush bread with olive oil before broiling.  Exchange vegetable broth for chicken and either use vegan grated cheese for garnish or no cheese at all.

Wine?  Please serve my mushroom ragu with an Oregon Pinot Noir.  You’ll be so glad you did.  I’m partial to Ken Wright or Sineann, but there are many lovely winemakers around the Willamette valley. 

Want more great mushroom ideas?  Check out the other beautiful 38 Healthiest Ingredient bloggers:

Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Jill – SaucyCooks 

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
Anabanana – adobodownunder.blogspot.com
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As we go along, I’m guessing we’ll get some other writers involved.  If you’re interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits:  Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com

Sing a new song,
Alyce