Bruschetta with Three Toppings
2 cups (12 oz./375 g) chopped tomatoes and/or quartered cherry tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 lb. (500 g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) red wine vinegar
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) low-sodium beef broth
4 fresh thyme sprigs
Grilled Balsamic Onions (see below), chopped
1 tsp. chopped fresh sage
12 slices country-style bread
1/2 cup soft cream cheese (spread each of the breads)
To make the tomato topping, in a bowl, mix together the tomatoes, half the garlic, and the basil and season with salt and pepper. Add a glug of oil and toss to mix, then set aside.
To make the mushroom topping, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter foams, add the mushrooms, toss to coat, and then cook for 4–5 minutes without stirring. Turn and cook for 4–5 minutes longer. Be patient. You want the mushrooms to be golden brown and slightly crisp. Do not salt. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl. Return the pan to medium heat and add a little oil. When it shimmers, add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cloves minced garlic and cook for another minute. Return the mushrooms to the pan, add the vinegar, and cook until reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and thyme and cook until the liquid has almost evaporated, 5–8 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove and discard the thyme sprigs, and set aside. (The mushroom mixture can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.)
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium heat. Brush and oil the grill grate.
To make the onion topping, prepare the grilled balsamic onions. Combine the balsamic onions and sage and toss to mix.
Place the bread slices on the grill directly over the fire and cook, turning once, until toasted and grill marked, about 2 minutes on each side.
Grilled Balsamic Onion
Prepare a grill for direct grilling over medium heat. Brush and oil the grill grate. Soak 4 to 6 wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes. Slice 2 red onion into thick rings. Slide a skewer horizontally through the midpoint of each onion slice. This will ensure the slices hold together and will make turning them on the grill easier. Place the onions on the grill directly over the fire and cook, turning once, for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. You want the onions nicely charred, but you also want them to still have a little of the red coloring. Slice the onion slices off the skewers into a bowl and separate the slices into rings. Immediately add 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) balsamic vinegar and toss the onions to coat evenly. Let stand, tossing occasionally, for at least 10 minutes before using.