This is the one of the easiest and most impressive appetizers that we have in our collection. It’s a classic combination of mushrooms and cheese that will start a holiday party off just right – the smell of fresh herbs in the house, garlic and of course, cheese.
Swiss Gruyere is one of our favourite cheeses. It is slightly sweet and not too salty, with flavour that varies with its age. Ages can vary from five to 10 months old, with serious control on how this is done. The Swiss government placed its stamp of approval on Gruyere by giving it Appellation d’origine Controlee status in 2001. This means that the productions and aging process is closely monitored by Swiss law and all producers must follow the production rules.
The end result of this process is a cheese that is nutty and creamy when young, followed by an earthier and more complex cheese as it ages. Gruyere is generally considered one of the best cheeses to cook and bake with, as it has amazing melting qualities (think fondue) but not an overpowering taste or greasy feel.
The other note to make in this appetizer is how the mushrooms are cooked. Starting them off in a hot, lightly oiled pan with a splash of water allows them time to caramelize to a golden brown. Then the butter and other flavours are added. You’ll have a bit of smoke in the kitchen for this one, but it is well worth it!
Make most of this appetizer ahead of time; toast the bread and make the mushrooms up to four hours in advance.
Grate the cheese. To serve, just re-heat the mushroom mixture in a frying pan (preferably) or microwave, top bread with mushrooms and then top with cheese.
Pair this appetizer with a good Riesling wine or even sparkling apple cider to get the party started!
Heat a heavy pan over high heat, add canola oil, and all of the mushrooms so that they form a single layer in the pan;
Immediately add 3 tbsp of water and let cook, undisturbed for about 5-7 minutes (until mushrooms are caramelized on the bottom);
Lower heat and add butter, leek, shallots and herbs; season with salt and pepper; keep warm;
Toast bread in a 400-degree oven; remove and immediately rub with the cut side of a garlic clove;
Top with mushroom mixture;
Garnish with shaved Gruyere cheese.
Mushroom, Shallot and Herb Crostini with Gruyere Cheese
Serves 8 as a starter
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 3 cups mixed mushrooms such as cremini, button, shitake or portabella
- 1 leek, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp each chopped rosemary and thyme
- 1 baguette or sourdough loaf, sliced half-inch thick
- 1 garlic clove
- 150g Gruyere cheese, shaved into strips with a vegetable peeler or grated