Appetizers & Sides, Recipes, Review, Vegetarian
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Breaking the jinx with Mushroom Melts

The thing about leisurely cooking in the afternoon, is that I get to take pictures. And that is a privilege that I seem to have lost with my current work schedule. Add to that, the imagined pressure of blogging about something fabulous and you have yourself a pretty non-existent blog over a couple of months. (Sorry Shwe!) So I’m breaking the jinx and blogging about something. Even if it’s something really simple. Something I make myself pretty often and something that I really like.
My normal grocery shopping always includes a packet of button mushrooms. I like to toss these babies into omelets, pulaos, stews and casseroles. But what I like to do most is just sauté them in butter and garlic and pile them mile high on some good bread. The key to making this more than ‘mushrooms on toast’, is to know how to sauté the mushrooms. What we are looking for is a nice seared brown outside and a juicy plump center. Overcrowding mushrooms in the pan and/or adding them in before the butter/oil is hot, will just cause them to water out and steam, instead of sauté. And we don’t want watery, shriveled up mushrooms – not when they are the star ingredient!
This version takes it a step further and adds some passata and cheese. I use a Baguette as the base, but Ciabatta would work great as well. The Mushrooms Melts make a delectable appetizer or light lunch with a fresh salad. What they also do, is serve to break my jinx and for that I adore them even more.

Mushroom Melts
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 mins
Serves: 2
What you need:
 200 gms Button Mushrooms
½ Tbsp Butter, salted
4 cloves of Garlic, minced
8 Tbsp of Passata/ Marinara Sauce
100 gms of Cheese (I like a Cheddar-Mozzarella mix)
1 Baguette
Olive Oil, for brushing
Parsely to garnish
Rock Salt, to taste

What to do:
Split the baguette down the center and cut into half. You should have four pieces. Brush the inner side with olive oil and place under a hot grill to toast for 2 minutes.
Wash and slice the mushrooms. Heat a frying pan on a medium flame and add in the butter. Wait till it is hot. Toss in the minced garlic and saute for 30 secs, do not brown. Toss in the mushrooms and ensure that they lay as a single layer on the bottom of the pan. (Do this in two batches if necessary). Sauté for 4-5 minutes till they are brown on the outside but are not releasing water. Take off the heat. Divide into four portions.
Now spread the passata/ marinara sauce on the toasted baguette and pile the mushrooms on it. Layer the cheese to just cover the mushrooms. (It’s easy to overdo the cheese, but don’t!). Carefully place the baguette back on the wire rack and grill for two minutes till the cheese just melts.
Garnish with some parsley/ flat leaf parsley and sprinkle some rock salt for some added pizazz. Your mushroom melts are now ready to be devoured.
Note: I make a similar meatball-marinara melt, but that’s a story for another day.

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