sauteed mushrooms

Greek-style sauteed mushrooms are a wonderful weeknight side dish alongside almost anything. Put those mushrooms on toast, and it suddenly transforms into a very-classy-indeed appetizer.

This is a 30-minute hors d’oeuvre, a wonderful thing in a season that is rushed. Not much muss, definitely gourmet. Will they say “Wow!”? You bet! And if you don’t want to use it atop bread, you can fill phyllo cups or spoon over beans, a grain, fish, or eggs. Spoon over polenta or pasta, roll in steamed chard leaves. Or serve as a side dish as is. Top a mixed green salad. Your way, babe.

If you want to know something of the history of mushroom, they go way back. Mushrooms were prized by the Pharaohs as a delicacy, by the Greeks to provide strength for warriors in battle, and by the Romans who served them only on holidays because they were regarded as a gift from God. The Chinese treasure mushrooms as a giver of health and protector of immunity.

Don’t like mushrooms? Use this method to sauté sliced Brussels sprouts. Or use this method and flavoring to prepare grated butternut squash and sausage….

Serves about 8-10 happy people

¼ C extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) 1 tsp dried tarragon
2 Tbsp ghee, butter, or coconut oil 2 tsp good salt
½ lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced ¼-inch thick 1 tsp ground pepper, or grains of paradise
½ lb maitake mushrooms, coarse crumbled 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or pressed
½ lb any other ‘shrooms, sliced ½-inch thick any rustic sourdough bread, opt
1 tsp dried thyme EVOO for brushing & drizzling
2 Tbsp lemon juice snipped chives or minced scallions

In a large skillet, gently warm the EVOO and ghee, butter or coconut oil. Add mushrooms and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned, 4 minutes. Add garlic, lemon juice and herbs and spices and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes.

Slice the bread, if using, into ½-inch rounds. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the bread with EVOO and grill until toasted and charred in spots, about 1 minute per side.

Spoon the mushrooms on top of the toast. Garnish with snipped chives or minced scallions. Cut each toast slice (crostini) in half, drizzle with more olive oil and serve.