Crostini are familiar all year round, accompanying everything from salads to soups, but no matter what, a platter of warm crostini always looks elegant and appetizing on special occasions. Plus, assembling crostini is easy on the host or hostess since the components can be prepared ahead of time and the crostini assembled and heated just before serving.

I like to use an assortment of different mushrooms for the topping, but using all one type works fine, too. Chopping the mushrooms into smaller pieces works best in this recipe; larger slices of mushroom can make the crostini unwieldy to eat in one or two neat bites.

Wild Mushroom Crostini
By Karen
Makes about 2 dozen pieces

Ingredients:

1 slim baguette
3 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 pound mixed mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, Portobello), chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Cognac or brandy (optional)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme and/or Italian parsley
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
Paremesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Slice the baguette ¼-inch thick and arrange on a baking sheet. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and brush the slices evenly. Bake until crisp and the edges turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat; add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When the butter is melted and no longer bubbling, stir in the shallots with a pinch of salt. Cook until softened; add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to collapse and release their juices.

Stir in the garlic and Cognac, if using, and cook until the Cognac is evaporated. Remove from the heat; stir in the thyme, crème fraiche and salt and pepper to taste.

Top each crostini with some of the mushroom mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm. (The crostini can be assembled ahead of time and re-warmed at 350°F for about 10 minutes)

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