From Our Food and Drink Archives

Mushroom Bruschetta with Crispy Onion Haystack



1 medium to large Spanish or sweet onion
½ cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) hot or medium curry powder
¾ tsp (4 mL) salt
Peanut oil for frying, about 2 cups (500 mL)



1 lb (500 g) portobello or 12 oz (375 g) button mushrooms
1 small carrot
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
1 large garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
Pinch cayenne or black pepper
1½ tsp (7 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped cilantro or parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 baguette
2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 mL) butter, melted


  1. For crispy onions, use a mandoline or slicing blade of food processor and thinly slice onion to make about 3 cups (750 mL). Spread out on a double layer of paper towels, top with another double layer of paper towels and roll up. Squeeze gently. Stir flour with curry powder and salt. Turn onions into a large bowl; using hands, toss with flour mixture.
  2. Heat about 1 inch (2.5 cm) oil in a heavy pan (such as a chicken fryer or deep skillet) over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot (a couple of onion slices placed in oil immediately begin to bubble), use tongs to lift medium-sized clump of onions into oil. Fry, stirring frequently to break up clump, for 2 to 3 minutes or until crispy and deeply golden. Remove with slotted spoon; drain on several layers of paper towels. Repeat with remaining onions. (Onions can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen in an airtight container.)
  3. For bruschetta, remove stems from portobellos; using a spoon, scrape out and discard black gills. Cut caps in half; thinly slice. (Or thinly slice whole button mushrooms.) Using a mandoline, julienne or grate carrot crosswise to make short pieces.
  4. Heat butter with garlic in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until bubbly; add carrot, salt and cayenne. Sauté for 3 minutes or until hot and almost cooked. Add mushrooms all at once; drizzle with lemon juice. Cook, turning frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes until mixture is somewhat dry. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and let cool. (Mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
  5. Cut baguette diagonally into 18 slices about ½ inch (1 cm) thick. Lightly toast in a toaster oven or under broiler, then brush both sides with butter. (Toasts can be made ahead, covered and left at room temperature for up to half a day or frozen in an airtight container.)
  6. To serve, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  7. Place toasts on an ungreased baking sheet. Dividing equally, top each toast with a portion of mushrooms. (If preparing ahead, toasts can stand, covered, at room temperature for an hour or in refrigerator for half a day.) When ready to bake, add large heap of onion to each toast. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until onions begin to darken. Scatter with additional cilantro and serve right away. 
Makes 18 pieces


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