Dinner For One #4: Stuffed Mushrooms
Here'a a dish that I've been making for about five years now. I don't recall where I got the inspiration or even if there was a recipe that I started out using, but over the years it's evolved. It changes from time to time, depending on what I have in my refrigerator, but it's always good. I imagine I started making because when I first met J, he was a vegetarian (gasp!) and I wanted something with some volume. Even though J is now a carnivore, we still enjoy these as much as ever.
Raw stuffed mushrooms.....
There are a couple of "must haves" in my stuffed mushrooms and the rest, as I mentioned, can be improvised based on what's available. Sometimes I use regular old button mushrooms, but when I want to make it a main course, I used the medium portabellas from Trader Joe's. The thing that always remains the same is this- cut the stems out of the mushrooms and dice. Heat a small sauté pan with a bit of olive oil, add garlic, diced onion, the mushroom caps, salt & pepper. After you've sweated the onions and mushrooms, add a splash of Vermouth and let it evaporate. This is a key step and adds great flavor to the dish. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and put the mixture into a bowl.
Panko makes everything better.........
From here on, you can pretty much dump in whatever you'd like, although you have to make sure you have something to bind it with. Last night, the mushroom caps were quite small and didn't make enough filling, so I added up a crumbled veggie sausage and some chopped green onion. Some sort of cheese is needed, so I added about 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella and a couple of tablespoons of grated parmesan. I usually add some sort of cream cheese or sour cream but didn't have any. I did have some oregano and thyme left over from the fish stew I made the other night so I threw in some of that too. The mixture was quite crumbly so in went one egg and 1/3 cup of panko breadcrumbs. The mixture should just stick together when you pinch it between your fingers, which it did. Ready to stuff!
Wait...is this photo supposed to be here? Shaved zucchini for salad.....be careful not to shave your fingers.
Since the portabellas were quite "meaty," I sprayed the unfilled caps with some olive oil and seasoned them liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. After packing some filling in each one, I dipped the tops in a whisked egg and then in some panko. A quick spray of olive oil on the top and they were ready to go into my toaster oven which is great for baking small things. Twenty minutes in a 400 degree oven later, they came out tender on the bottoms and crisp on the tops.
Nice and crispy..........
Although I made six of them, they were quite large and three proved to be plenty for me. I added a salad of mixed greens and shaved zucchini garnished with parmesan cheese. Now I have three shrooms left to devour for another Dinner For One later in the week! Out of all the things I have cooked over the years, I can say that stuffed mushrooms are the one thing I've made very consistently and that I always come back to wanting to eat. It's a hit with guests and, if you use the smaller button or crimini mushrooms, a great party appetizer. I did make these for a birthday party that I catered awhile back and they were a hit with the crowd. The best part is, you can use whatever you think suits your taste- use regular sausage if you like meat, add some diced bell pepper....most anything works in this dish.
Er...is there enough CHEESE on your salad???
Hope you get a chance to try them!