Mushroom and thyme toasts

    15 min

    Make this whenever you are short of time and want to prepare a satisfying snack quickly. The rich flavour of chestnut mushrooms is enhanced by cooking them with garlic, herbs and a dollop of tangy crème fraîche, and they taste wonderful piled on top of toast spread with low-fat soft cheese.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 125g (4 1/2 oz) low-fat soft cheese
    • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
    • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
    • 500g (1 lb 2 oz) mushrooms
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
    • 2 tablespoons half-fat crème fraîche
    • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    • salt and pepper
    • 8 thick slices mixed seed bread

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:5min  ›  Ready in:15min 

    1. Put the soft cheese, celery, parsley and cayenne pepper in a bowl and mix well together. Set aside. Preheat the grill to high.
    2. Leave any small mushrooms whole and halve larger ones. Place them in a large, heavy frying pan, preferably non-stick, and add the garlic, thyme, crème fraîche and 1 teaspoon water. Cover and cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes or until the mushrooms are just tender and have released their juices. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
    3. While the mushrooms are cooking, toast the bread slices on both sides under the grill. While still warm, spread one side of each piece of toast with some of the soft cheese mixture, then cut it in half.
    4. Arrange the toasts on individual serving plates. Spoon the hot mushroom mixture over the toasts and serve immediately.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of copper, selenium. Good source of calcium, iron, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B1, zinc. Useful source of folate, potassium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin E.

    Another idea

    To make devilled mushroom toasts, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, add 1 thinly sliced onion and cook over a moderate heat until softened. Stir in 1 crushed garlic clove, 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) halved chestnut mushrooms and 1 seeded and diced red pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, then stir in 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp Dijon mustard and 1 tsp dark muscovado sugar. Reduce the heat and cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tbsp chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toast the bread and spread with 75 g (3 oz) soft goat's cheese. Spoon the hot devilled mushroom mixture over the toasts and serve immediately.

    Plus points

    Though there are more than 2,500 varieties of mushrooms grown throughout the world, not all are edible – indeed some are positively poisonous. Chestnut mushrooms tend to be larger, firmer, browner and stronger in flavour than most cultivated mushrooms. All edible mushrooms are a useful source of several B vitamins. * Like other cheeses, soft cheese such as ricotta is a good source of protein and calcium. Because of its high moisture content, it is lower in fat than many other varieties of soft cheese.

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