Friday, July 29, 2011

Fabulous Fungus

I know lots of my fans are vegetarians. (Seriously, I don't know how you do it).  So, here is something I used as a side dish, but you might serve with a large salad and call it a meal. (I still don't understand HOW you don't crave a huge bacon-cheeseburger at least one a month.  It's not normal).  I served it with the Bourbon-Vanilla brined Pork Chops from this month's issue of Fine Cooking.  They were ok.  Next time I plan to use a pork loin.  Bone it pork chops just aren't good.  That's my opinion.  Take it or get out.

These are fabulous, easy to make and super tasty.  Indulge.  Don't you dare use fat free cream cheese. It's not proper and offends the delicate nature of my being.  In short, its crap. 

Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms
(This recipe is courtesy of "Pure Flavor" by Kurt Beecher Demmeir with Laura Holmes Haddad)

Serves 6


1/3 cup plus 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 large mushrooms, such as portabellos, stems and gills removed, caps wiped clean
3 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 oz (6 tbs) cream cheese
3 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 green onion (white and green parts), thinly sliced
1 oz Parmesan or other hard cheese, grated (1/4 cup)
2 tbs sliced drained sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 tbs chopped fresh basil
1 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbs fresh bread crumbs
Plum tomatoes, cut into slices
4 oz semisoft cheese, grated (1 cup)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To cook the mushrooms, combine 1/3 cup of the olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and half the garlic in a large bowl. Using a pastry brush, coat the surface of the mushrooms, inside and out, with the oil mixture. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet, domed side down. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the centers of the mushrooms are tender. Drain the mushrooms on paper towels and set aside to cool. Keep the oven on.
To make the filling, in a large skillet, heat 2 tbs of the olive oil over high heat. When the oil is nearly smoking, add enough of the zucchini to make a single layer in the pan. Cook the zucchini without stirring until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Stir the zucchini and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on all sides. Remove to a medium bowl and repeat the remaining zucchini.

Add the bell pepper, onion, and remaining tbs of oil to the skillet, and cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes, or until browned. Stir the mixture and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper mixture to the zucchini.

Season the vegetable mixture with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Let it cool in the fridge while preparing the rest of the filling.

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. Fold in the green onions, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, remaining garlic, bread crumbs, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Mix the cheese mixture into the vegetable mixture, combining thoroughly but gently.

Place the mushrooms, domed side down, on a baking sheet. Divide the filling evenly among the mushroom caps, mounding it slightly. Push the filling to the edges to fill the entire cap.

Top each with slices of tomato and sprinkle with the semisoft cheese mounding it high. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are heated through and the cheese is melted and is beginning to brown.

Bon Appetit!

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