For people who care about their food

Bruschetta with Portobello mushrooms

Bruschetta with Portobello mushrooms, served on a wooden platter with leaves, Parmesan shavings and balsamic dressingA few weeks ago I bought the classic e’cco cookbook by Philip Johnson. This is a collection of his favourite recipes from his award-winning bistro e’cco. (Review coming soon. By the way, I’m not sure what the little acute accent on the e in “ecco” is for – I have a suspicion it’s just a bit of pretentious pseudo-Italian nonsense. If you know better, please comment!)

Flicking through the book, I spotted a delicious-looking photo and investigated further. It was field mushrooms on olive toast with truffle oil, Parmesan and rocket. Well, unfortunately I didn’t have any truffle oil (must ask Mr ND for more pocket money) but I did have Portobello mushrooms, so I had a go at making a poor man’s version of the dish.

Philip Johnson’s field mushrooms on olive toast with truffle oil, Parmesan and rocket


(serves 4)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 field or brown mushrooms
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a knob of unsalted butter
  • 60g/2¼ oz/1⅔ cups rocket (arugula)
  • balsamic dressing
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • tapenade
  • truffle oil
  • shaved best quality Italian Parmesan cheese
  • 4 lemon wedges


Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas Mark 7). Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based, ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, toss briefly, then season with sea salt and black pepper. Add the butter, then transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 5-8 minutes, or until tender. Drain the mushrooms on paper towels. Keep warm.



In a bowl, toss the rocket with enough balsamic dressing to moisten.

To serve, toast the sourdough and lightly spread with tapenade. Arrange in the centre of serving plates and top each toast with five mushrooms. Drizzle with truffle oil, scatter with shaved Parmesan, and arrange the rocket over the top. Finish with a lemon wedge and a good grind of black pepper.

Not Delia’s Portobello mushrooms on bruschetta with Parmesan and baby leaf salad


Pretty much the same as Philip Johnson’s except that I had some very large Portobello mushrooms, no truffle oil so I used extra virgin olive oil instead, and I substituted baby salad leaves for the rocket. I missed out the tapenade – although I had some in the fridge – as I didn’t fancy it at the time. I didn’t make balsamic dressing either as I keep my balsamic vinegar in a spray bottle (nice piece of kit) and decided a fine spray of balsamic would do the trick.

I very much agree with Philip’s specification that it should be Italian Parmesan. I’ve tried both Australian and New Zealand so-called parmesan cheese and they are very inferior substitutes for the real thing.


Fry the mushrooms in olive oil in a suitable, preferably heavy-based, frying pan.

Meanwhile make the bruschetta.

Place the cooked mushrooms onto the bruschetta. Top with some Parmesan shavings, and baby salad leaves. Add a fine spray of balsamic vinegar. (If you don’t have a spray, then toss the leaves in a dressing before adding them.)

This was a really quick and easy dish to make and could be used as a starter, snack, or part of a tapas meal.

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