Question about Mushroom Crostini
I am making mushroom crostini for a party. I have been looking for recipes and find that many of them use different types of mushrooms and fresh rosemary. So far so good. I also noticed that many recipes suggest garnishing them with a few whole pink peppercorns. I think it would look too, but I'm a bit puzzled about using such a hard thing as a garnish! Do people really want to bite into whole peppercorns?
I have never used the pink ones, so maybe I'm missing something; do they soften once they're added on top of a hot crostini? Are they simply softer than black peppercorns?
Also on the same topic, what would be a great combination of mushrooms for this? I was gonna use portobello (which I love) and a bit of button mushroom for texture. Any thoughts? Shoul I use more than two kinds?
Ixnay on the pink peppercorns. Unless there's some kind I don't know about, they are crunchy and I can't see what the flavour would do for mushrooms. I'd do a relatively simple saute of (pick two or three:) portobellos, creminis, oysters, chanterelles (if you can get them) and maybe some softened dried porcinis. I'm not fond of shitakes so i wouldn't use them. Some fresh, non-assertive herbs (parsley, maybe thyme), chopped garlic and a good dose of salt and pepper. Add some white wine or sherry as they're cooking. Then I'd put them on toasts with a crumble of blue cheese or grated asiago or pecorino. And that's it.
I recently did a mushroom tapa with chanterelles and chorizo which was murderously good. Served on toasts as well. So you could add some sausage to the above if you wanted, but it's a whole different thing then.
I did a bit of a twist on a recipe from the New Spanish Table for Sauteed Wild Mushrooms with Ham and Allioli. Instead of the ham - which you could use serrano or prosciutto instead if you wanted - I used a mild, uncooked Spanish style chorizo. Here's more or less the recipe:
Olive oil in the pan. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and 6 oz. chorizo (taken out of the skin and crumbled) and cook until the garlic is soft and the chorizo is beginning to brown. Add about 1 lb. sliced mushrooms (I used chanterelles because - amazingly - they had fresh wild ones at Costco!). Cook until the mushrooms have released liquid and it's cooked away. Add some chopped fresh parsley and salt and pepper. Serve with allioli (for which I can provide a recipe - or just make a garlicky aioli or mayonnaise) on toasts. Totally delicious. I may have added a splodge of sherry but I can't remember.
I wold say no on the peppercorns too. My major suggestion is if you choose to use standard mushrooms, be sure you get a nice brown on them and s&p them well; it will amp up the flavor.
Mushrooms can have such a delicate flavor, I think it is a shame to mask it by bombarding it with pepper. Personally I would use a combination of more flavorful mushrooms like porcini or hen of the woods, but if you are using just the portobello/cremini and buttons, I think it might look nice with a simple garnish of chive flowers, provided you can get them. You'll still get the pink color, but without the pepper bite.
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