Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Magic Mushrooms

Waking up the last few mornings and feeling the chill in the air I am reminded once again that fall is in full swing here and that the summer days are gone.  Now as depressing as this might seem, here in the Pacific Northwest fall brings a bounty of fruits and vegetables that I wait all year to have, which includes an impressive variety of mushrooms both locally grown and locally foraged.  I have found a new love for mushrooms, which has not always been the case.  When I was pregnant with my daughter the sight or smell of any mushroom sent me running for the hills (gagging as I went) and after having her it took me a long time to formulate a friendly relationship with fungi of the edible variety.  But here I am, a changed woman, and surprisingly writing about a recipe that not only involves mushrooms but is also vegetarian (what warped universe am I in).  The idea for a mushroom recipe came to me while I was at the market the other day, trying desperately to find inspiration for my next post.  Then suddenly I found my muse, large and lovely, just waiting to be bought and cooked............drum roll please..............Portabella mushrooms.  As destiny would have it these lovely jewels were surrounded by other pleasing candidates, wild Chanterelles, Brown Beech, and lobster mushrooms.  One of these varieties might be coming to a blog near you.....just so ya know.
So I brought these beauties home and damned if I knew what to do with them.  They were so lovely so I didn't want to chop them up and put them into something.  No, I wanted them to be the centerpiece.  But I have to say that I wanted whatever I made to be fast, since my three year old was growing more and more impatient by the minute waiting for mummy to finish in the kitchen.  So once again I perused my fridge, trying to put something together, and by the time I had figured it all out my little one was at the end of the line in the patience department.   So to turn that frown of hers upside down I put a little apron on her and she helped me make this dish from beginning to end, and wouldn't you know it, it was absolutely delicious.  However, I have to say that even though the meal was wonderful, the company was so much better, so Ava bug this one is for you.

Ava's Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

3 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots diced
2 garlic cloves minced
16 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh Thyme chopped
2 teaspoons fresh Oregano chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs (see note)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 large Portabello mushrooms, stems removed and gills scraped out

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place mushrooms in a large glass baking dish.  Brush the inside of the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Salt and pepper the inside of the mushrooms with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper.  Set aside.  To prepare the filling for the mushrooms melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and remaining olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Squeeze any excess water out of the thawed spinach and add spinach to the pan, cook until the spinach is heated through, about 3 minutes.  Add the herbs and mustard, stir to combine and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Remove the spinach mixture from the heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Cool just until the mixture will not be hot enough to cook the egg.  Once the mixture is cooled add the egg, 2/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese, 3/4 cup of the fresh breadcrumbs, and the feta cheese.  Stir to combine then season with the remaining salt and pepper and set aside.  In a separate bowl combine the remaining Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.  Melt the remaining butter and add to the breadcrumb/Parmesan mixture.  Stuff each mushroom with an equal amount of the spinach mixture then sprinkle the breadcrumb topping over each mushroom.  Put in the oven and bake uncovered until the topping is browned and the mushrooms look cooked, about 35 minutes.

Hummmm.......crab would be yummy would sausage, but that's not very vegetarian is it.

Note: To make fresh breadcrumbs simply put a piece of day old bread in a food processor until crumbed.  If you don't have a food processor you can substitute the bread crumbs with Panko.

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