I (really) love to put out a spread of great food and drink, but the last few times I’ve hosted a big party, I’ve felt like I spent the whole party taking coats, mixing drinks, getting appetizers from the oven to the serving tray, instead of actually, y’know, spending time with all these people I like. So lately, as part of my ongoing quest for more meaningful interactions, I’ve been throwing smaller parties of four or five where I really have the time to enjoy the festivities. A few close friends, some good food, and a couple great bottles of wine is always the best.
When Mirassou asked if I’d like to feature their easygoing line of wines, I knew right away that I wanted to put together something simple and delicious that would work well for an impromptu holiday party. After some important research, I decided Mirassou’s Pinot Noir was exactly the right wine for kicking off a cozy evening with friends. Mirassou’s eye-catching gold label makes it easy to spot in stores and lends its special brand of warmth to the table. Their Pinot Noir is light bodied and faintly fruity, and pairs wonderfully with a host of dishes like meats, cheeses, and even desserts. (See? Important research at work.) Mirassou’s Pinot Noir was also a fantastic complement to one of my favorite things to serve at a holiday gathering – tiny toasts piled high with mushrooms and herbs.
Earthy mushroom toasts, ones with herbs and garlic and just a bit of horseradish, were just the thing to complement the fruity notes of Mirrisou’s lovely Pinot Noir. Grapes, olives, and a bit of herbed chèvre round out the simple spread. All that’s left is the Vince Guaraldi Christmas album on repeat and great company.
This recipe for herbed mushroom toasts makes for a deliciously simple and savory appetizer.
- 1 baguette , cut on the bias into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 3 tablespoons olive oil , divided
- 1/2 pound mushrooms , brushed clean, stems removed, and sliced (I used a mix of crimini, oyster, and shiitake)
- 3 large cloves garlic , divided
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley leaves , plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a small bowl, brush each side of baguette slices with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet and set in the oven. Toast each side for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Rub each side of toast with one clove garlic. Set aside.
Mince remaining two garlic cloves.
Set a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When oil is hot, add minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, and up heat slightly. Toss in a generous pinch of sea salt and pepper, plus lemon zest. When mushrooms have cooked down a bit, add lemon juice. Sauté mushrooms, stirring occasionally, for a total of 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and toss mushrooms with parsley and thyme.
Spoon mushrooms onto prepared toasts. Finish each with a sprinkle of parsley, and a tiny pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Serve warm.