This is the kind of food I wish I had learned to make, when I was a young bachelor. My cooking endeavors as a single man living in a city I couldn’t afford were driven mostly by cost, and a dish’s ability to be served again and again, all week long. Mostly, I seemed to alternate between “everything” bagels with cream cheese, steamed pork dumplings from the Chinese place downstairs, six packs of Coors Light (because the girls I liked in the bars on the Lower East Side preferred their “$2 Guinness Night” hookups to be reed-like and willowy), and cooking big huge pots of chili on Sunday afternoons, which would be enough to last all week if I supplemented strategically with Hot Pockets.
Instead, I could have taken a cue from the Brits (after all, I was already copying their taste in music and their accent), and learned the beauty of eating smothered toasts at nearly every meal. A recipe like this is ridiculously inexpensive, packed with flavor, infinitely reheatable, a hangover preventative/cure, and leaves plenty of room for modifications with whatever you’ve got in your pantry. Master this mustardy, boozy sauce, and you can add sautéed pieces of chicken to the mushrooms. Or skip the mushrooms altogether, and substitute medallions of pork. Or skip the toast, and serve the whole thing over egg noodles. You do you, player!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds button mushrooms (or bellas, oysters, creminis, shitakes, or any combination you like), wiped and trimmed
- 3 tablespoons dry vermouth
- 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water (optional)
- 6 slices of bread, toasted and buttered
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a skillet over high heat, cook mushrooms in oil until they just start to soften, about three minutes.
- Add the vermouth, and cook, stirring constantly, until evaporated.
- Add the mustard, paprika, cream, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Reduce the heat to low and season with salt and pepper. If thicker sauce is desired, slowly add cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly.
- Toast the bread then arrange the slices on serving plates. Add most of the chopped parsley to the mushroom mixture, and stir well. Top toast with remaining parsley and serve.