Is there anyone out there who doesn't love stuffed mushrooms? Vegetarians love them. Meat eaters love them. And frankly, I love them more than anyone.
That being said, bathing suit- and sundress-season is coming up very, very quickly, if this weekend is any indication, and the usual breadcrumb and cheese-filled stuffed mushroom recipes don't seem to fit particularly well into my current diet. This version, which "stuffs" the mushroom caps with sautÃ©ed shallots, chives, parmesan, and chopped mushroom stems, is my low-cal, no-guilt, and just-as-incredibly-delicious version of stuffed mushrooms.
And easier too! These don't have to be baked twice -- since the filling is sautÃ©ed by itself, you can just pile it on the mushroom bottoms, and serve them warm or at room temperature!
I want to say a few things about cooking mushrooms. Have you ever tried to microwave button mushrooms? You end up with a bowl of water and no idea where it came from. Where some vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers) look and taste as though they're juicy and full of liquid, mushrooms are so stealthy that you don't realize at first how full of water they are.
At the same time, they're like little sponges. You drizzle olive oil on some mushrooms, and within about 20 seconds, they've soaked it up. So, if you try to sautÃ© raw mushrooms in olive oil, they soak up the oil right away and pretty soon you have a dry, ungreased pan.
But here is my mushroom-cooking technique that I've found is basically foolproof. When you first put the mushrooms in the pan, add about 2 tbsp of water or stock. This stops the dry mushrooms from sticking to the bottom of the pan, and by the time the liquid has cooked off, the mushrooms have rendered the liquid that they were hanging on to. So, once all the liquid cooks off, you're left with cooked mushrooms -- at that point, add the olive oil, and it will distribute evenly, rather than be absorbed only in a few contact places.
Now, are you ready for this? Here's why that technique is extra perfect in this recipe. Once the mushroom caps are roasted, you will pull out your pan and find your mushroom caps sitting in a little pool of mushroom liquid. Guess what you are going to use that liquid for? Yes, you guessed correctly (I hope). You're going to use it to start cooking the filling for your stuffed mushrooms, giving an extra mushroom-y layer of flavor.
Last, and somewhat unrelated, but definitely not least, Earth Day falls on Tuesday of this week! What better motivation to visit a local farmer's market, carry a reusable bag to the grocery store, or ride your bike to work?
20 large button mushrooms, rubbed clean with a damp cloth
4 shallots, sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, plus extra for garnishing
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Detach the stems from the mushroom caps and set aside (they should pop right out when you pull them). Brush the mushrooms caps with olive oil and salt lightly. Place the mushroom caps on a baking sheet and roast for about 10-12 minutes.
3. While the mushroom caps are roasting, chop the mushroom stems into small pieces.
4. When the mushroom caps come out of the oven, drain off the liquid and reserve it. Remove the mushroom caps and set aside.
5. Place the mushroom liquid, chopped mushroom stems, shallots and garlic in a saute pan and sautÃ© on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. After liquid has cooked off, add chives, olive oil and parmesan, and sautÃ© on low heat for about 3 more minutes.
6. Spoon the sauteed mushroom mixture into the roasted mushroom caps. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese, and serve.
Makes 20 stuffed mushrooms.