Herby Mushroom Toast
Last month, I visited my family in Mumbai and ate some great food. One of the best meals I had was a proper Thanksgiving meal at Bastian Mumbai. The last thing I expected was a turkey dinner in a swanky Mumbai restaurant but I’m so glad we went! There were all of the traditional Thanksgiving mains and sides, cooked to perfection, but some of my favorites were the fusion dishes, marrying together Thanksgiving with Indian flavors. My absolute favorite were these herby mushrooms, coated in an Indian pesto. Bastian is owned by Chef Kelvin Cheung and he was nice enough to answer my questions about the dish, which I’ve recreated here.
The pesto is very reminiscent of Indian pudina or mint chutney and the added peanuts give it a great texture and some body. It’s on the spicier side so I thought to do what Indians do to cut spice and added some cooling yogurt into the mix. Yogurt on toast may sound strange but savory yogurt is big in many parts of the world (see: Turkish eggs) and with a little salt, it’s a great balance to the minty, spiciness of the pesto. You can reduce the spice by using fewer serrano peppers; start with half and add more until you get to a spiciness you like. Put it on a perfectly toasted slice of sourdough and you’ve got a satisfying and healthy meal!
I’ve used trumpet mushrooms on my toast, which you can find easily at any Asian grocer. You can also find them at other grocery stores but for whatever reason, they are one third the price at Asian grocery stores. If you’re having trouble finding these mushrooms, oyster mushrooms are more readily available and will work just as well in this dish. The trick is to sear the mushrooms properly and salt them at the end. Salting them during will cause the mushrooms to release their liquid and you’ll end up steaming them and without proper browning.
2 thick slices of sourdough bread
2 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
10-12 oz mushrooms, sliced (I used trumpet mushrooms)
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp Greek yogurt
For the herb pesto
1 bunch cilantro (about 3-4 cups)
1 bunch mint leaves (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup peanuts
1 serrano pepper
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
Prepare the pesto. Process everything listed under “For the herb pesto” in a food processor. Set aside.
Heat up a pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Wait for the oil to start smoking and then add the sliced mushrooms. Do not crowd the pan - individually place the mushrooms in the pan if needed. This will ensure the mushrooms sear properly, and not just steam. After 3-4 minutes, you will see some browning on one side; flip over the mushrooms and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Lastly, salt the mushrooms and toss the mushrooms well. Remove into a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, add the butter and once melted, add the sourdough slices. Toast for 2-3 minutes, or until browned.
While the toast prepares, add a tablespoon of the pesto to the seared mushrooms and mix well.
Assemble the toast. On each piece, spread the Greek yogurt and sprinkle a little salt. Top with the pesto-coated mushrooms. Finish with a little more salt and enjoy!