Remember when stuffed mushrooms were all the rage? It seemed as though you couldn’t wave a menu in a restaurant without hitting someone carrying a plate of ‘shrooms. Today, they seem a bit passé, but we think that they should make a comeback. Why? Well, for one thing they’re an easy appetizer to make, but, far more important, is that they taste good. So, if you agree, keep reading, and together we’ll whip up a half-dozen or so mushrooms.
We didn’t follow a recipe for these, and perhaps you shouldn’t, either. Instead, maybe just read through the instructions, look around at what you have in the house for ingredients, and just wing it. That’s pretty much what we did. In fact, that’s why we chose stuffed mushrooms in the first place; we’re low on fresh vegetables, but we did have a box of fungi in the fridge.
Either white or crimini mushrooms will work here; just choose mushrooms that will be a good size to stuff. We think mushrooms about an inch or two in diameter are perfect. For the wine, use something you like. We prefer Barefoot Pinot Grigio. We guess that you could buy bread crumbs, but we never do. Instead, we save the crumbs from when we cut bread, or, in a pinch, we’ll toast some bread and crush it up. Finally, feel free to use another type of cheese. Cream cheese would be very good, and so would blue cheese, or Cheddar; we could go on, but you get the idea.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Since we’re only making six mushrooms and will be running these under a broiler, we formed a small baking pan from aluminum foil to make the cleanup easy. At the same time, we moved a rack closest to the broiler.
Remove stems. Use a sharp knife to remove the stems from the mushrooms, leaving a nice cap that you’ll be able to fill with stuffing. Depending on the maturity of the mushroom, you might have to use a small spoon to scoop out a space that you can stuff. Place the caps on your pan.
Chop stems. Cut the stems into very small pieces, about 1/8 inch on a side. These will be part of the stuffing, so you want them pretty small, or it’ll seem as though you left the stems in place.
Cook onion. Heat the oil in small skillet over medium heat. Once hot and shimmery, add the onions and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Cook mushrooms. Stir in the mushrooms pieces (not the caps), and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 2 more minutes.
Add wine. Pour in the wine and increase the heat to high. Let the wine boil and evaporate, giving everything a stir from time to time. Once all the liquid has evaporated, remove from heat and let cool completely. We just left everything in the pan, but if you want extra cleanup, feel free to transfer to a bowl.
Add crumbs and cheese. Once cool — so the cheese doesn’t melt — add the bread crumbs and the cheese and mix completely. That’s it; you now have the stuffing.
Stuff. Use about a tablespoon of stuffing for each mushroom cap, pressing the stuffing down into the cap to hold it in place. Don’t press too hard or the cap will split open. You should have just enough stuffing to go around.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake until the cheese melts and the mushrooms are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Once tender, we like to turn the oven to broil and crisp up the top of the stuffing by keeping it under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. If you decide to broil, watch the mushrooms carefully to prevent burning.
Serve immediately. These don’t taste quite as good as they cool, so try to get them onto plates right away.
Yes, we think stuffed mushrooms should make a come-back. Just think about all the possibilities for the stuffing: different cheeses, add spices, use a bit of vegetables in the stuffing — cauliflower would be good, served with a sauce. With just a little creativity, we could make a different flavor of stuffed mushroom for every night of the week. We’ll give these ‘shrooms four stars.