roast mushroom bruschetta with parma ham and pecorino

This simple Italian antipasto dish is one of my favourite things to eat. Usually we would have bruschetta in the summer months with ripe juicy tomatoes, garlic and basil but when the days are cold, topping grilled rustic bread with the warm earthy, almost meaty flavour of roasted mushrooms hits the right note.

Bruschetta much like almost every dish from Italy varies from region to region. In Tuscany it’s simply topped with garlic and olive oil, in Naples unsurprisingly they top it with the local tomatoes and way down in Calabria, they finish the dish with pepper and fresh oregano.

The dish itself seems to date to the Etruscan age, in the rich farmlands between Rome and Tuscany when day old bread was rubbed with garlic, warmed in the oven and drizzled with the youngest and greenest olive oil. While writing this I came across an old Italian saying about bruschetta that made me smile as its almost a recipe in itself, “Day-old bread, month-old oil, and year-old wine,” who can argue with that?

Having the right bread makes all the difference, a thickly sliced open textured Italian rustic loaf like pane Toscano is ideal but ciabatta will happily fit the bill. Roasting the mushrooms with the garlic will concentrate their flavour and make sure to add some of the roasting juices to your slice, when they mix with the fresh olive oil the taste is simply delicious. Finally top with a slice or two of the best Parma ham you can get hold of and I can guarantee a comforting tasty dish that I hope you will making again and again. Enjoy.


The Method

serves 4

400g chestnut mushrooms, half sliced half quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
50g butter
evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
day old rustic bread, 4 thick slices
2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
4 slices Parma ham
sea salt and pepper


1. Place mushrooms, garlic and butter in a small roasting tray, add a good splash of evoo and season.
2. Cover tightly with foil and place in oven for 15-20 mins, then carefully remove the foil as steam will build up.
3. Check seasoning and return to the oven uncovered for 5-10 mins to evaporate some of the mushroom liquor. Remove from oven and keep warm.
4. Place bread on another oven tray, drizzle with evoo and roast for 5 mins, turn over bread, return to oven for a further couple of mins.
5. Remove toasted bread and rub with cut side of garlic and give another drizzle of evoo.
6. Plate up toasts, divide mushrooms between them. Lay a slice of Parma ham on top and finish with shaved Pecorino, chopped parsley and a final drizzle of evoo.