mustard-pine nut spread • pine nuts • thyme • tarragon
My wife and I are saving up for a bigger house, so I had to ease up on buying expensive avocado toast. (Because buying avocado toast is the only thing slowing us down from sizing up in one of the most expensive cities in the world during a historical moment where the wealthiest 1 percent of American households own 40 percent of the country’s wealth while a record number of people toil in poverty and debt *Stanley from The Office eye roll*.) Anyway, I get down with fancy toast sometimes when I’m eating out, and I wanted to offer a make-at-home alternative. Off the top, you must start with really good rustic bread—if you have some, you’re halfway there. If you don’t want to make it yourself, find the hardworking bakers in your area and show them some love. Next, you need a creamy spread. Pile on some farm-fresh toppings and good salt, and you are golden. The mustard-pine nut spread can be used on any number of sandwiches, but it plays off earthy mushrooms perfectly. Serve with a raw salad for a light meal.
Song: “The Capitalist Blues” by Leyla McCalla from The Capitalist Blues
Reprinted with permission from Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes by the Bryant Terry, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House —Food52
- Prep time 3 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Makes 4
- Mustard-pine nut spread
extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons
dark agave nectar
Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
wild mushrooms, such as maitake, chestnut, or chanterelle
extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the bread
finely chopped leek (about 1 medium)
minced fresh thyme
thick slices sourdough or other rustic bread
chopped fresh tarragon
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
- Make the spread: In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium-high heat, shaking the pan for even cooking, until they are starting to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a mortar and pound into a fine paste with the pestle. Add the olive oil, mustard, agave, a pinch of salt, and a few turns of white pepper and stir well to combine. Set aside.
- Make the toast: Clean the mushrooms. Remove any tough stems and, depending on what type of mushrooms you are using, chop larger mushrooms to ensure all the pieces are fairly uniform in size.
- In a cast-iron skillet, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the mushrooms and a generous pinch of salt, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook, stirring often and scraping the pan, until the liquid released by the mushrooms has fully evaporated and the mushrooms are starting to brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, transfer the mushrooms to a medium bowl, and set aside.
- In the same skillet, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add the leek and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme and a pinch of salt and cook until the leek is browning and smells fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Position an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler heat element and preheat the broiler to high.
- Arrange the bread on a baking sheet and broil until golden brown. Flip the bread and broil for about 30 seconds on the second side; take it out of the oven quickly so it doesn’t burn.
- To serve, arrange one slice of toast on each of four small plates and brush with olive oil. Generously slather on the mustard-pine nut spread, top it with the leek mixture, then evenly distribute the mushrooms over that. Garnish each with a tiny bit of tarragon (just enough for a few pops of flavor), then season with flaky salt and a few turns of white pepper and enjoy.