Mushroom & Gruyere Bruschetta is the kind of quick and easy appetizer you can throw together on the spur of the moment.
Light dinner or substantial appetizer, it’s up to you. During the summer they’re one and the same to us. This one couldn’t be simpler, and I’ve got a bonus tip for cooking those mushrooms — you won’t believe the flavor you will get from them when you cook them this way.
This is patterned on classic French elements: a baguette, mushrooms, nutty Gruyere , fresh thyme, sherry, and a touch of garlic. You can use any kind of mushrooms and any kind of cheese, but remember that white button mushrooms don’t have as much flavor as other varieties. I used cremini, which are young portobellos. There are lots of great cheeses that would be delicious here, but Gruyere and mushrooms have a special affinity for each other.
TIP: So here’s my mushroom cooking trick— I like to dry saute the mushrooms, without any oil or butter. They hit the hot pan and immediately begin to release some of their moisture. They darken and their flavor intensifies. They don’t get that spongy quality that mushrooms have when they absorb oil, so their texture is better, too. Just be sure to stir them often to keep them from sticking to the pan. As an added benefit you don’t get the extra calories. Save them for the cheese.
Slice a baguette or a loaf of ciabatta bread in half lengthwise. You can make one large piece or divide it into individual pieces.
Rub the cut side of a garlic clove across the bread.
- 1 small loaf ciabatta bread or a crusty baguette
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 1 pint cremini mushrooms
- 1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, grated (a generous cup)
- 1 Tbsp Sherry (or Marsala)
- pinch of salt, if needed
- fresh thyme leaves (about 2 Tbsp, plus more for garnish)
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- fresh thyme leaves
- Cut the bread in half lengthwise, so you have a large cut surface. You will not need the whole loaf, I used about a 6 inch by 6 inch piece of ciabatta. Grill the bread, cut side down, on a hot grill until it starts to get nice char marks. Rub the cut side of the garlic across the bread while it is still hot. Set aside.
- Dust off the mushrooms with a clean dish cloth. Trim off the tips of the stems, and then thickly slice them.
- Heat a cast iron or saute pan on medium high, and add the mushrooms and thyme leaves. Dry saute the mushrooms, stirring often so they won't stick to the pan, until they release their moisture and are softened. This will only take a couple of minutes.
- Add the sherry and let it sizzle for just a few seconds. Stir to deglaze the pan and get up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with a pinch of salt, if needed.
- Spoon the mushrooms and any juice onto the bread. Top with the cheese, some black pepper, and a little more fresh thyme. Broil until the cheese is melted.
- Slice the bread into individual portions and enjoy right away.
Set aside a few cooked mushroom slices to garnish the bruschetta after it comes out of the broiler if you want it to look like it does in the photos.