Stuffed mushrooms, a taste of summer

It was the first day of spring this week, but you’d never have guessed it with all the snow we’ve been getting.  It seems that with every passing day I become more impatient, and my 2 year old isn’t helping as she keeps telling me how soon she will play in the sprinkler and eat popsicles.

Ah…  To have fresh basil and warm, red tomatoes in the garden…

Unfortunately, there is still over a foot of snow on the ground.  But at least one can dream. Or you can make these stuffed mushrooms, and if you close your eyes, you might just convince yourself that the dream is real.

This recipe is also in my book, Culinary Art.

  • 6 large or 8-9 smaller portobello or porteenie mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • pepper
  • a pinch of sugar
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1-2 tomatoes, sliced or 12-15 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1½ cups grated cheese
  • 6-9 Kalamata olives (optional)

Serves 4 as a main

Melt the butter over medium heat in a frying pan. Add the onion and sauté for five minutes. Cut the stems out of the mushroom caps. Coarsely chop them and add them to the onions. Continue to sauté for another 10 minutes, then add the chopped basil, stir to combine, and turn off the heat.

Whisk together the next six ingredients in a small bowl. Put the mushroom caps on a cookie sheet gill side up, and spoon in one tablespoon of the vinegar mix per mushroom, swirling around to coat.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Pour what is left (if any) of the vinegar mix into the onions, and mix well. Distribute this evenly between the mushroom caps. Top each mushroom with tomato, grated cheese, and a Kalamata olive. Bake the mushrooms for 20-25 minutes until cheese starts to brown.  I like pairing these with a substantial salad such as chickpea, a lentil salad or a tabbouleh for a delicious vegetarian dinner.

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