Mushroom Bruschetta with Crispy Onion Haystack

Autumn 2007
food and drink

BY: Marilyn Bentz-Crowley

A sprinkle of fresh coriander on a heap of fragrant curried onions looks alluring, and then a single taste proves that these are delicious. This recipe makes a generous amount of crispy onions as some always seem to disappear before making it onto the bruschetta. Try a sizeable stack on a hamburger or spread over macaroni and cheese for the last few minutes of baking-superb.

Crispy Onions
1 medium to large Spanish or sweet onion
½ cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (25 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 small carrot
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
Pinch of cayenne or black pepper
1½ tsp (7 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh coriander or parsley
plus extra for garnish
1 baguette
2 to 3 tbsp (25 to 45 mL) butter, melted


1. Using a mandoline or slicing blade of food processor, thinly slice onion; there should be about 3 cups (750 mL). Spread out on a double layer of paper towels, top with another double layer and roll up. Squeeze gently. Stir flour with curry powder and salt. Turn onions into a large bowl; use hands to toss with flour mixture.

2. Heat about an 1-inch (2.5-cm) oil in a heavy pan such as a chicken fryer or deep skillet over medium-high heat. When very hot (a couple of onion slices placed in oil immediately begin to bubble), use tongs to lift a medium-sized clump of onions into the hot oil. Fry 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently to break up clump, or until crispy and deeply golden. Remove with slotted spoon; drain on several layers of paper towels. Repeat as needed. (Onions can be covered and refrigerated for a day or 2, or frozen airtight.)

3. 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. Use a mandoline to julienne carrot crosswise forming short pieces, or grate.

4. Heat butter with garlic in a large frying 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 or until mixture is somewhat dry. Remove from heat, stir in coriander; cool. (Mixture can be covered and refrigerated for a day or two.)

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 airtight.)

6. To serve, preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

7. Place toasts on ungreased baking sheet. Dividing equally, top each toast with a portion of mushrooms. (If preparing ahead, toasts can wait, covered at room temperature for an hour or in refrigerator for half a day.) When ready to bake, add a large heap of onion to each toast. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until onions begin to turn darker. Scatter with additional chopped coriander and serve right away.


Makes 18 pieces