How Belgians Toast

Toast champignons

“Champignons” is the French word for mushrooms. There is a Dutch word as well, but we Flemish tend to stick to “champignons”. Again, this is a recipe that is so ridiculously simple, yet delicious at the same time. “Toast champignons” has been popular for ages and can be found especially in pubs and bistros. We usually consider it to be a snack or a starter.

Button mushrooms. Photography by Ingrid Dendievel.

List of ingredients

Button mushrooms

Butter

A slice of white bread

Parsley

Garlic

Onion

Let’s start with the toast itself. You can, of course, use a toaster, but we Belgians prefer to melt butter in a pan, add the slice of bread and once this is slightly browned, finish it off in an oven, although this last step is not necessary.

We continue with the mushrooms. First of all, you have to clean them. Do not wash them in water, since they will soak up the liquid and lose their delicate taste. Instead, clean them with a slightly wet cloth. Afterwards, quarter them and add them to a pan with butter, finely chopped onion, garlic and parsley. Here, you can replace the butter with for example, olive oil.

Assembling the dish is pretty straightforward. Just put the toast on a plate and on top of this, a generous portion of the mushroom mix.

There are a couple of variations that you can try. You can add cream – which is hugely popular – or even a couple of drops of balsamico. Personally, I am not in favour of this last variety, since balsamico can easily overpower the taste of the mushrooms.

If you tend to be curious and like to study a Belgian menu, you will find other kinds of toasts. Here is a short overview:

  • Toast avocado: I guess the name is self-explanatory.
  • Toast garnaal: “Garnaal” means shrimp. The most popular variety is the small grey shrimp, which is also the most expensive. Mix the shrimps with finely chopped parsley, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and put this mix on toasted bread.

Bon appétit/Smakelijk!

Ingrid Dendievel

Ingrid Dendievel is a Belgian foodie, traveller and photographer. She likes to eat and drink local produce and travel to off the beaten path locations in Europe. You will never see her without her Nikon D7100.