Caramelized Cremini Crostini
There’s this little secret I have to share with you. It might not be news for you, as you may be one of the lucky people who has already found the enlightenment. This classified information really needs an opportunity to come out of hiding and straight into every home and kitchen to shine like gold. So, here I am to deliver the broadcast…are you ready? You sure?? (Of course you are sure, you are still reading aren’t you?) Caramelized onions are THE BEST way to enrich flavor to just about any dish. A simple and incredibly delicious meal enhancer at it’s finest! It takes just minutes to prepare and truly makes all the difference, trust me on this one. I often prepare caramelized onions/shallots in the beginning of the week and store them in the fridge in an easy open container for quick additions to salads, sandwiches, omelets, and pastas. This time, I had a few large shallots lying around and decided they would be absolutely fantastic with a leftover half-bag of Cremini mushrooms I had in the fridge. A perfect pairing to stack high up on toast with melty cheese and fresh herbs. An ideal appetizer for a party or gathering, if you ask me. You will soon learn how the caramelization process brings out the natural sugars in the onions/shallots. As they start to brown, a deep richness and subtle sweetness perfume the air and the depth of flavor is obvious (and imminent). One of my favorite parts about this particular flavor enhancement is that it isn’t full of calories, like most seasonings are. Some would argue that bacon, for example, makes everything better. But, I would argue, caramelized onions are one step ahead (whilst being vegan, super low in fat, and high in fiber!). So move over bacon, there’s a new sheriff in town!
- half of one baguette, about 10 slices
- 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 5 oz Cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 5 oz Cambozola cheese (or any soft blue or gorgonzola cheese you like)
- 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
- 1 TBSP chopped fresh chives
- red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400. Place the baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with about 1 TBSP olive oil. Bake for about 8 minutes and then set aside.
- While the baguette slices are baking, heat 2 TBSPs of extra-virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot slices, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss for about a minute. Add the Cremini mushrooms and sauté all together for about 10 minutes, continually stirring to avoid burning. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss together for one more minute and then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Top each baguette slice with a bit of the shallot/mushroom mixture and then a slice of Cambozola on top. Place back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and sprinkle chopped fresh parsley and chives over the top. Option to sprinkle red pepper flakes. Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Double for the recipe for an easy party appetizer!