My family and I have spent the last week on the island of St. Martin (which explains why it’s been so long since I’ve posted). Now you must understand that, for a family of foodies like us, dinner each evening was as much of a thrill as spending the day digging our toes into the sand of those pristine beaches. And if the place felt comfortable and familiar, it was for good reason - we are among our kind there. St. Martin is an island full of foodies.
St. Martin has an interesting culture, in that it is half French and half Dutch. Of all of the Caribbean islands that I’ve been to, the food on St. Martin is, hands down, the most elegant (albeit expensive). But that’s not to say that the restaurants are stuffy. While most of them are shorts and t-shirts kinds of places (and very kid-friendly), there is a decidedly French feel to the restaurants. Perhaps it is because a great deal of attention is paid to things like colors on the plate, textures, flavor pairings and presentation, making even the simplest dishes seem indulgent. It’s one of the things that we look forward to when we travel – food that is unique and special. Food that inspires.
Which brings me to this recipe. Bruschetta is a treat that we enjoyed almost every night in St. Martin. Before the main course, we shared a bruschetta plate and salad, a bruschetta plate and escargots, or just a big plate of bruschetta. It isn’t something that I make much at home (unless I’m entertaining), but I’m not sure why I don’t. It seems to instantly elevate meals to gourmet status.
This Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Bruschetta was inspired by one that we enjoyed at a restaurant called Le Moulin Fou in Maho Bay. A glass of champagne, an ocean breeze, a plate of bruschetta, some music in the background and the people I love the most at my side. Damn, life is good!
Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Bruschetta
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. parsley, rough chopped
½ tsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
10-12 slices of baguette, sliced ¼ inch thick
10-12 thin slices of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Add olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions and sauté for approx. 10 minutes (until they are wilted and lightly browned). Add garlic, mushrooms, rosemary and parsley and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes or so. When mushrooms are lightly browned, add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside to cool slightly.
Lightly toast the baguette slices. Spoon some of the mushroom mixture onto each baguette slice and top with a sliver of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.