I was once invited to a mushroom-themed dinner (I was tasked with dessert and made a chocolate cake in the shape of a mushroom!) cooked by my friend Tamar Adler. For one part of the meal, she served the most beautiful wild mushrooms that she had roasted, and I thought, well, isn’t that smart? Roasting mushrooms instead of sautéing them gives you all the concentrated flavor of sautéed mushrooms without having to work in tons of batches and without having to use your entire olive oil supply . . . hello, small victory. Keep in mind that the mushrooms will shrink a ton in the oven since they’re so full of water (not unlike spinach), so don’t be alarmed when you see the mountain of them reduced to a flat layer on your sheet pan. I like to serve these on toast that’s been rubbed with garlic and slicked with crème fraîche because life is short, and everything should be delicious. These are great to serve with drinks, or as a first course with a little arugula salad next to them, or as a main course topped with fried or poached eggs.
SERVES 6 TO 8 AS AN HORS D’OEUVRE
2 lb [900 g] assorted mushrooms, tough stems discarded,torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup [60 ml] extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
Twelve 1/4-in- [6-mm-] thick slices baguette or country bread
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup [115 g] crème fraîche
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
Preheat your oven to 425°F [220°C]. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the mushrooms on the prepared baking sheet,drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with a large pinch of salt and the thyme. Use your hands to toss everything together. Roast the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and well browned, about 40 minutes.
When you take the mushrooms out of the oven, toast the bread and rub one side of each piece of toast with the garlic clove (the toast will act almost as sandpaper and will catch little bits of the garlic). Spread the garlic-rubbed side of the toasts with the crème fraîche.
Divide the roasted mushrooms among the toasts. Drizzle each toast with a little bit more olive oil and sprinkle each one with a little pinch of salt and some of the parsley. Serve immediately.
FOR A GREAT VEGETARIAN MEAL, serve the roasted mushrooms on soft polenta and top with a fried or poached egg and some grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese. Some wilted greens and/or roasted tomatoes would be really nice here, too. If you’re vegan, leave out the egg and cheese and top with chopped hazelnuts that you’ve toasted in olive oil.
FOR MUSHROOM SPAGHETTI, toss the roasted mushrooms with 1 lb [455 g] cooked spaghetti, along with3 Tbsp butter (but feel free to add more . . . neither a strand of spaghetti nor a roasted mushroom can have too much butter). Serve topped with lots of grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese and plenty of chopped parsley.