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Mushrooms meet sherry and cream for a memorable toast topping

By Leah Eskin • Jun 13, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Sunday mornings, Dad and I got bagels from the deli. Once, the lady behind the case handed over a chocolate log. Provoking panic: I hadn’t asked for it. I couldn’t pay for it. I thought my thoughts were private. Dad said it was OK — I didn’t even have to share. That eclair was a gift, a find, a lagniappe.

Not that I knew lagniappe — it dropped into my life this week, via Marlene, who, like the noun, comes from New Orleans. It’s a little extra, she explained, the padding on a baker’s dozen.

That made it easy to grasp. After our family left bagel territory, the kids took over Sunday-morning provisioning. Whoever biked to the bakery earned the bonus, though, after the first 12 doughnuts, the prize often went unclaimed.

I mulled over my windfall word while sauteing shallots for a surreptitious snack. Were the mushrooms a lagniappe to the toast? Or toast to mushrooms? Perhaps the two together define a lagniappe — an add-on bite, a taste, a pleasure — with no obligation to share.

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MUSHROOM TOAST

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Makes: 16 small toasts

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1 pound fresh mushrooms — a mix of plain (such as white button or cremini) and fancy (such as shiitake), cleaned, sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons sherry

1/4 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 slices sourdough sandwich bread

Salted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Brown: Heat oil and butter in a wide skillet over medium. Add shallots and cook, 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring regularly, until mushrooms turn soft and fragrant and many have browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme; cook, 30 seconds. Turn up heat, pour in sherry and deglaze the pan — scraping up the tasty browned bits from the bottom. Pour in cream and cook until thickened, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Toast: Lightly toast bread. Butter with salted butter. Slice in half or quarters. Heap mushrooms onto toast. Garnish with parsley. Enjoy.

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