An Evening with Boardwalk Empire: The Classic American Appetizer, the Mushroom Canape

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

During the Prohibition era of the American 1920s, canapes were the most commonly served appetizer both at the restaurant and at home. They can be made with virtually any ingredient, making them quick and easy to make. They can be as decadent as smoked salmon and caviar to more affordable cheese spreads on toasts with parsley.

I made this very easy recipe for mushroom canapes because mushrooms are in season now and I found some gorgeous ones at the market. The recipe is based on Paula Deen's, who makes it even easier using canned mushrooms (simply substitute the whole mushroom saute part below with a small can of drained canned mushrooms). But in my opinion, there's nothing better than freshly sauteed. I also added a little thyme, the classic herb friend to mushrooms, for more flavor. We loved these and they will go with any "cocktail" you wish you serve.

freshly sauteed mushrooms adds better flavor and texture

Mushroom Canapes
8 oz mushrooms (white button or baby bellas), stems removed and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
a small pinch (about 1/4 tsp) fresh or dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 of a 2.8-ounce can of french-fried onion rings (or homemade fried onion rings), plus more for garnish
rye or pumpernickel bread
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, very finely chopped

the mushroom mixture, ready to be spread

Melt the butter in a saute pan and add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook on medium-high heat until beginning to caramelize, but still tender, about 7 minutes. Add the thyme the last minute of cooking. You can keep the mushrooms sliced or chop them up further if you wish -- a matter of personal taste. Combine the mushrooms with the mayo, parmesan cheese, and onion rings in a bowl. Cut the crusts off the bread slices and then cut bread into triangles or square shapes -- bite-sized -- then spread with the mushroom spread. Place the canapes on a baking sheet and broil until the top is bubbly, about 3-4 minutes. Remove promptly and garnish with a small sprinkling of parsley and onions if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature (they're better hot though).

*Note: You can make the spread a day in advance, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Just bring it up to room temperature about 10 minutes before you start assembling to make it easier to spread on the bread.

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