Mushroom & Gruyere Bruschetta

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 small loaf ciabatta bread or a crusty baguette
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 1 pint cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, grated (a generous cup)
  • 1 Tbsp Sherry (or Marsala)
  • pinch of salt, if needed
  • fresh thyme leaves (about 2 Tbsp, plus more for garnish)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
    garnish
  • fresh thyme leaves
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cut the bread in half lengthwise, so you have a large cut surface. You will not need the whole loaf, I used about a 6 inch by 6 inch piece of ciabatta. Grill the bread, cut side down, on a hot grill until it starts to get nice char marks. Rub the cut side of the garlic across the bread while it is still hot. Set aside.
  2. Dust off the mushrooms with a clean dish cloth. Trim off the tips of the stems, and then thickly slice them.
  3. Heat a cast iron or saute pan on medium high, and add the mushrooms and thyme leaves. Dry saute the mushrooms, stirring often so they won't stick to the pan, until they release their moisture and are softened. This will only take a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the sherry and let it sizzle for just a few seconds. Stir to deglaze the pan and get up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with a pinch of salt, if needed.
  5. Spoon the mushrooms and any juice onto the bread. Top with the cheese, some black pepper, and a little more fresh thyme. Broil until the cheese is melted.
  6. Slice the bread into individual portions and enjoy right away.