The best cooking apparatus in summer isn’t even found in the kitchen. It sits proudly in the back yard – or in our case, the front porch – waiting patiently for six months till it rises from the wind and rain to take centre stage in as many dishes as you can imagine… it is, of course, the BBQ.
In summer, Scotty and I love to cook as many meals as possible on the BBQ even when it is just the two of us. There is nothing quite like cooking over a flame and we always get great results from our BBQ meals when we try a something a little bit different to the usual sausages and onions.
So, I was delighted when the Australian Mushroom Growers asked me to develop a summer mushroom recipe for January – the queen of all BBQ months. It got me thinking about how I could use the BBQ to put a smokey spin on an Italian classic. I also wanted a mushroom dish that you could lazily whip up for yourself or a group of friends that was low stress and just what you desire when you are on holidays. Something simple and yet flavourful that would cause the beauty of the mushrooms to sing out for themselves – Pavarotti style.
The answer was simple… Bruschetta. Now, get your hand away from that tomato because this bruschetta packs a mushroom, garlic and goats cheese punch without an acidic red beauty in sight! Besides, mushrooms are a superfood so it is about time mushrooms took leading lady status – don’t you agree?
Bruschetta has become synonymous in Australia for its tomato version but the word ‘Bruschetta’ actually refers solely to the preparation of the bread. A bruschetta is technically grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with olive oil – it doesn’t matter which topping you put on the bread after that.
Therefore, I am well within my Italian rights to offer you up a mushroom topped version that could perhaps live alongside (if not trump) your favourite tomato version. Let me try and convince you with this wonderful BBQ Mushroom Bruschetta recipe. With the bread and the mushrooms both flame grilled on the trusty outdoor BBQ, perhaps consider serving these up as a starter to your Australia Day celebrations – because now that we are all heading back to work, it’s a pleasure to have a public holiday so soon on the horizon!
BBQ Mushroom Bruschetta
250g Baby Bella mushrooms (aka Crimini mushrooms)
250g Swiss Brown mushrooms
4 sprigs lemon thyme
Pinch dried oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 cloves of garlic
Crusty Italian bread loaf (like Pane di Casa or Ciabatta)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil to drizzle
50g goats cheese
Brush the Baby Bella and Swiss Brown mushrooms clean and slice in 5mm slices then place in a medium sized bowl. Remove the leaves from the lemon thyme and add to the mushrooms with the oregano, 2 tablespoons of olive oil (reserving the remaining tablespoon for cooking), the red wine vinegar and one clove of garlic, crushed.
Preheat your BBQ to a medium heat.
Cut eight even slices of bread from the Italian loaf and then skin and cut the two remaining garlic cloves in half. Once the BBQ has preheated, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the hot plate and add the mushrooms. Place the bread slices on the grill side.
The mushrooms will take about 6 minutes to cook (cooking until dark brown with a little resistance) and the bread slices will take about 3 minutes to brown on one side before you will need to turn them over to cook on the other side for 3 minutes.
Once both mushrooms and bread are cooked, remove from the heat. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper and set aside. Rub each slice of toasted bread vigorously with a half garlic clove (using 1/2 a clove for every two slices of bread) and drizzle liberally with olive oil.
Divide the cooked mushrooms evenly between the eight slices of bread and top each with a teaspoon of goats cheese. Serve immediately.
Chew Town was sponsored by the Australian Mushroom Growers to develop this recipe – due to my love of Mushrooms and the freedom I was given to develop a recipe of my choosing, I was happy to participate. To find more great summer mushroom recipes from fellow Australian food bloggers feel free to visit the My Mushrooms blog.