Mushroom pesto toasts

Mushroom pesto toast

Sometimes on this blog I’ll post recipes from my favorite celebrity chefs. I watch them often and they inspire me; I admire their creativity. One of my absolute favorites is Bobby Flay. I like to think about him as a “master of taste.” Every one of his recipes that I ever tried to make was full of flavor and decadence. Not to mention, I love his awesome burgers, in Bobby’s Burger Palace, and other savory dishes as in rotation at all of his wonderful restaurants…. I even sometimes compare Bobby’s recipes for a given dish against those of other celebrity chefs – creating the same dish according to their directions and comparing the taste. Bobby usually wins. His taste palate is phenomenal and I trust you’ll feel the same about this particular Bobby ‘delight.’

Mushroom pesto toast

On this occassion I tried to make his Grilled French Bread Pizza with Mushroom Pesto and Fontina Cheese. I made this dish for some house guests in the middle of a brutal New York winter. Given the frigid temps, obviously this means: no outside grill. I also don’t own a good inside grill to be able to follow the recipe in full. Instead I decided to saute my mushrooms in a pan and use the oven to bake my pizza bites. I don’t know how it’d taste if I’d grilled the mushrooms and the bread, but let me tell you this version came out so delicious that my guests and I were in heaven. The richness of the pesto, with hint of Pecorino Romano – with its smooth texture – and then the gooey fontina…..mmmm….it created a happy dance in my mouth. My guests totally favored these over any other dishes that I’d made that day and they couldn’t get enough.  Thanks Bobby for a great entertaining dish. Loved it!

Mushroom pesto toast

It’s a grill season, so you may want to try to grill it!

Mushroom pesto toasts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2-4
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms - stems removed, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking olive oil
  • Whole head of roasted garlic - cloves squeezed out (see recipe below)
  • ¼ cup of toasted walnuts
  • ¼ cup of flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • ¾ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup of and 2 tablespoons of Pecorino Romano
  • 1 loaf French Bread, about 24 inches long
  • 2½ cups grated fontina cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Roasted Garlic:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Slice off the top of the garlic to expose cloves inside
  3. Place the head on a piece of foil
  4. Drizzle with olive oil
  5. Roast about 30 minutes until cloves are lightly brown and squeezable
  1. Place dried porcini mushrooms in a pot of hot water and let it cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
  2. Carefully remove porcini mushrooms from the pot with a slotted spoon, paying attention to not stir the water as there may be a dirt at the bottom of the pot. Place them in the bowl of your food processor. You may add a few tablespoons of cooking water as well.
  3. In a large skillet, heat up 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Add cut up cremini mushrooms and do not move them for about 5 minutes. Do not add any salt at this time as you don't want the mushrooms to release water.
  4. After 5 minutes, stir the mushrooms and add salt and pepper. Let it cook for about another 5 minutes.
  5. Add mushrooms, roasted garlic pulp, toasted walnuts, parsley and thyme into a food processor and process until finely chopped.
  6. While the food processor is running slowly add extra virgin olive oil until smooth.
  7. Add ¼ cup of Pecorino Romano cheese and pulse to incorporate.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.
Assemble and bake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Slice bread into about 3 inch pieces. Add mushroom pesto, fontina cheese and remaining 2 tablespoons of Pecorino cheese on the top of each toast
  3. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray
  4. Place the bread on a baking sheet
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
  6. Sprinkle with fresh italian parsley
  7. Severe immediately

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