Sunday mornings, Dad and I got bagels from the deli. Once, the lady behind the case handed over a chocolate log. Provoking panic: I hadn’t asked for it. I couldn’t pay for it. I thought my thoughts were private. Dad said it was OK — I didn’t even have to share. That eclair was a gift, a find, a lagniappe.

Not that I knew lagniappe — it dropped into my life this week, via Marlene, who, like the noun, comes from New Orleans. It’s a little extra, she explained, the padding on a baker’s dozen.

That made it easy to grasp. After our family left bagel territory, the kids took over Sunday-morning provisioning. Whoever biked to the bakery earned the bonus, though, after the first 12 doughnuts, the prize often went unclaimed.

I mulled over my windfall word while sauteing shallots for a surreptitious snack. Were the mushrooms a lagniappe to the toast? Or toast to mushrooms? Perhaps the two together define a lagniappe — an add-on bite, a taste, a pleasure — with no obligation to share.

Mushroom Toast

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Makes: 16 small toasts

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1 pound fresh mushrooms — a mix of plain (such as white button or cremini) and fancy (such as shiitake), cleaned, sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons sherry

1/4 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 slices sourdough sandwich bread

Salted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Brown: Heat oil and butter in a wide skillet over medium. Add shallots and cook, 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring regularly, until mushrooms turn soft and fragrant and many have browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme; cook, 30 seconds. Turn up heat, pour in sherry and deglaze the pan — scraping up the tasty browned bits from the bottom. Pour in cream and cook until thickened, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toast: Lightly toast bread. Butter with salted butter. Slice in half or quarters. Heap mushrooms onto toast. Garnish with parsley. Enjoy.


Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read or Share this story: