My apologies again for being off the blogosphere. The past two weeks have been insane. While I really enjoyed my trip to Boston, I wound up falling behind on work. It always seems like everything academic comes at once; add that to the promise of warmer, springtime weather and the very apparent fact that graduation is just over a month away, and a whole bunch of senioritis/stress about the future/excuses to wallow in sorrow with one’s roommates get added into the mix, making school seem that much harder and making homework take so much longer.
On Thursday night, I decided to take a break from all of the crazy event planning and schoolwork that I’ve been doing lately and make dinner for a few friends. Minus my housemate Ena, these were people with whom I do not get to spend nearly enough time, so I was eagerly looking forward to making this meal. The menu was primarily Italian fare, but I think that the best part of the entire meal (other than the amazing pie Liz brought over), were the stuffed mushrooms.
Now I LOVE appetizers – not just eating them, but making them. They are bite-sized portions of some of your favorite foods, made all the more interesting because you know that there is only a little bit of food to convey a whole lot of flavor. They are also a lot more fun to experiment with compared to larger meals; I feel like I can be a bit more adventurous with an appetizer than with a larger dish, as I am not destroying a whole slew of ingredients and possibly destroying the majority of the meal that I intend to feed people that night!
My friend Peter hinted that stuffed mushrooms would be very welcome at Thursday’s meal, and, as I had never made any before, I decided to try my hand at them. I opted to use cremini as I think they have a richer flavor than the average button mushrooms; they also hold up a bit better when cooking. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did. Happy eating!
Stuffed Cremini Mushrooms
I assumed that the mushroom caps would need a bit more time to cook than if I had just stuck them under the broiler after they had been filled, so I opted to cook them for a few minutes beforehand in a 400 degree oven. That being said, I am sure you could boil or saute them for a few minutes as well. The only thing you must do is dry the mushrooms before filling them; they release a TON of water.
- 2 packages of cremini mushrooms (about 25-30 in total), washed and patted dry
- 1, 4 oz package of herbed goat cheese – softened
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian parsley
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
- Olive oil or a nonstick cooking spray (preferably made with canola oil)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil; brush with olive oil or coat with your cooking spray.
- Remove the stems from your mushrooms. You have two options here. You may either save a few stems, chop them up and add to the filling mixture, or you can discard them. I decided not to use them as I had enough filling as is.
- Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just starting to brown. When they are done, take them out of the oven and allow them to cool. They will release a lot of moisture. Once they are cool, dry them off with a paper towel and wipe off the baking sheet
- While the mushrooms are cooking and cooling, quickly make your filling. Combine the goat cheese, parsley, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Spoon the filling into your mushroom caps, top with a few panko crumbs, then place under the broiler for five to ten minutes or until the tops are just starting to brown.
- Serve warm.
Makes 25-30 mushrooms.