you know i love a sweet breakfast, oh yes i do. but my favourite could well be mushrooms on toast. i love it so much, sometimes i even have it for lunch.
i used to get it at cafes, but more and more it seemed an exercise so fraught with disappointment: sometimes the mushrooms were too small, or sliced too thin, or not cooked enough, or there were too few of them, or any combination or permutation of the above. now i make my own, and it is better because i get them cooked the way i like, and if i’m actually lucky enough to have a cafe breakfast these days (which generally i’m not), it frees me up to have something like french toast with maple syrup and berries and bacon.
the first rule of mushrooms on toast is that there have to be a lot of mushrooms. look at these pictures; you can barely see the toast.
i use regular medium-sized white button mushrooms, sliced about 5mm thick. sometimes i’ll buy a few bigger mushrooms as well, and mix them in for variations in bite. i chop much more garlic than you might think necessary. i use olive oil and butter. i cook them a long time.
once, at a cafe, i was presented with a few tiny flakes of dry, blackened mushrooms. problem compounded upon problem: too small, too finely-sliced mushrooms, cooked on too high a heat for too short a time. mushrooms really take some time to get going. they absorb the oil, and then sit there, dry, until you begin to wonder if you should add a bit of water to help them along (no, don’t), and then finally they seize up, and relax, and all the mushroom juices ooze out into the pan, ready to christen your toast…
(your toast should be a sturdy enough receptacle for the mushrooms and their juices. i like sonoma soy and linseed sourdough, sliced thick and salty-buttered.)
you can season with just salt and pepper and it will be fine. but you could also drizzle the lot with aioli [above], or stir through some pesto in the last minutes of cooking [below]. if you are lucky, the pesto will be parsley and fetta pesto, and the heat on the cheese will give you a sticky, salty crust which you can eat — gracefully — off your cooking implement.