Is there anything that cannot be eaten on a piece of toast? I know that even ice cream (especially dark chocolate ice cream) tastes delicious when served on a piece of toast!
I grew-up eating toast. Specifically, toasted Pepperidge Farm white bread, spread with Fleischmann's margarine and oftentimes sprinkled with my mom’s own blend of cinnamon sugar (much heavier on the cinnamon than if she purchased it already blended). Yes, this was the early 80s, we thought that white bread, margarine, and white sugar were fine for everyday consumption by small humans…I ate toast many mornings for breakfast, always cut into triangles rather than squares. Or maybe that was my sister’s preference. Toast was always a breakfast food or a sick food, never fancy or served at another time of the day. That’s just how toast was in the good ol’ days…
Fast forward more than 30 years and toast is everywhere! Avocado toast was the start of the toast revolution. But when did avocado toast become ubiquitous and who invented it? None of this is important, in my opinion. What is cool about the trend of putting avocado on toast is that it launched the practice of eating toast for meals other than breakfast. Savory toasts began to pop-up out of nowhere. While recipe testing for a wonderful plant-based cookbook several years ago, I tested a “beans on toast” recipe that was recommended as a cozy dinner option. At first, I had my doubts, but then I tried it. Yes, it’s a carb-filled delicious meal.
I spent this past weekend in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. This small town is part of a beautiful historic area in the Brandywine Valley, but is most famous for being the epicenter of mushroom cultivation. In fact, the town was celebrating the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival, an annual event that draws tens of thousands of people from all over the country to this unique event. There are vendors selling all sorts of mushroom products - both culinary and medicinal - as well as every possible type of mushroom-based snack food. I wish I had a picture of my mom eating a mushroom ice cream bar, she really enjoyed it! There were booths with education about mushrooms and the environment, it was really a great gathering of mushroom lovers (and some mushroom skeptics)!
After eating plenty of mushroom-filled meals over the weekend, I didn’t know if I wanted to see another fungi on my plate for awhile…but then I bought a delicious sourdough bread and made some toast. And from that toast came the desire to top it with gently sautéed mushrooms, their flavor enhanced by just a small amount of balsamic vinegar and some fresh thyme leaves. The taste reminds me of Fall, despite the summery weather at my house this week. I have enjoyed this Mushroom Toast a few times, alongside a bowl of soup or a simple salad, it’s the perfect midday meal.
Just a quick note about mushroom nutrition: mushrooms are a fungi, not a vegetable or a plant. Their nutritional profile is stellar - they’re a wonderful source of B-vitamins and minerals, including selenium, potassium, and copper. When mushrooms grow in the wild and are exposed to the sun, they are a great source of vitamin D. However, most of the culinary mushrooms that we consume on a regular basis are cultivated indoors, so they lack the exposure to the sun, and therefore are not a source for vitamin D. Most importantly, when prepared well, mushrooms are delicious and can be incorporated into so many different recipes. In fact, I’ve taught mushroom-based cooking classes and written many mushroom-y recipes over the past several years, I really like nearly all fungi!
What’s your favorite way to enjoy toast? Have you jumped on the avocado toast band-wagon and now you’re looking for an alternative? Or are you new to savory toast? Tell me! But first, make yourself some Mushroom Toast.
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
1 T unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
8oz cremini mushrooms, stems removed & caps chopped
1 t balsamic vinegar
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 slices sourdough bread, toasted
1/2 t chopped thyme leaves (optional)
Heat butter or extra-virgin olive oil in a heavy skillet. Once hot, add mushrooms to the pan and allow to cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. The mushrooms will initially stick to the pan but will release on their own as their liquid releases. Continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browning on the edges, approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat, toss with balsamic vinegar and season, to taste, with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper.
Place toasted sourdough bread on a plate. Spoon mushrooms and any liquid over the top of the toasts. Sprinkle chopped thyme leaves on top and enjoy immediately.
recipe yields one generous serving or two smaller portions
leftover mushrooms can be chilled in a covered container for 1-2 days
substitute your favorite bread, if desired
spread toast with additional butter or a soft spreadable cheese, if desired, prior to spooning mushrooms on top