Yes, we look for all sorts of excuses to eat. There are the big holidays (St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, July 4, Christmas) and the little ones like National French Bread Day on Wednesday, Mar. 21. Yes, a day just for celebrating the golden baguette, all crisp, light and airy. Is there any food more unmistakably French?
One of our favorite recipes is the rustic bruschetta from Wine Country Trattoria at Disney California Adventure park. A mélange of mushrooms, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes piled on a crisp slice of baguette, a schmear of buttery mascarpone the perfect counter-balance to the veggies.
At Wine Country Trattoria, the bruschetta is a delicious starter to follow with the braised lamb shank or balsamic-braised short ribs, then maybe the warm chocolate espresso tart. (But at home, we pair it with a buttery Chardonnay and call it dinner.)
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer
1 large onion, sliced
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced crimini mushrooms (sometimes called “baby bellas”)
1/2 cup sliced artichoke hearts
1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1 medium French baguette
1 cup mascarpone cheese
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 shallot, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Combine onion and 2 tablespoons olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until onions are soft and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss mushrooms and artichoke hearts with 3 tablespoons olive oil on a medium baking sheet. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 300ºF.
- Combine caramelized onions, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and sun dried tomatoes in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Cut baguette into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices on a large baking sheet, and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crisp but not browned. Set aside.
- Combine mascarpone cheese, minced garlic, minced shallots, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until combined.
- Spread toasted baguette slices with the mascarpone mixture, then top with mushroom mixture. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese.