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.
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
1. 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.
2. Toast: Lightly toast bread. Butter with salted butter. Slice in half or quarters. Heap mushrooms onto toast. Garnish with parsley. Enjoy.
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