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Easy Finger Food: Balsamic Mushroom Crostini

appetizers, finger food, party foodEveryone needs a few simple appies in their repertoire to pull into service during the holidays, or anytime a gathering is in order. These two-bite mushroom crostini will please vegetarians and carnivores alike, and are easy to assemble: toast your baguette slices (to make crostini – “little toasts”) while you saute mushrooms with chopped fresh rosemary, finishing them with a splash of balsamic. A little grated or sliced sharp cheese on top and another quick turn in the oven to melt it produces fancy-ish appetizers that are more substantial than chips and dip, and everyone seems to love.

Balsamic Mushroom Crostini

20 slices baguette, sliced diagonally about 1/2″ thick
1 large clove garlic, cut in half lengthwise
1 Tbsp. olive or canola oil
6 cups sliced fresh mushrooms button, Portobello, shitake or a combination
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/2-1 cup shredded Asiago, aged gouda or old white cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Place baguette slices on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, until barely golden. If you like, brush each toast with olive oil before baking.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium high heat. Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until the moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the mushrooms are golden. Add the cranberries, balsamic vinegar and rosemary and cook for another minute, until the liquid has evaporated.

Spoon the hot mixture onto toasts and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the cheese melts.
Makes about 20 crostini.

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