Mushrooms and I have a history. Not that interesting of a history. Not really. But a small one.
Ask my parents if I like mushrooms and they’ll tell you no. It was one of the few things that, as a child, I refused to eat. They were slimy and chewy at the same time and, on top of the mushroomy taste, just… icky.
But, ask M and he’ll have a different story. I often order pizza with mushrooms. I kind of like picking out pretty white button mushrooms. I haven’t moved up to large portebello mushrooms, but I’m getting there. I like mushroom soup, I chop mushrooms up into sauces and grill steak with slices of mushrooms.
I do have one good memory of mushrooms when I was a kid: as a family, we were in Waterloo, looking for a place to eat. We walked into a restaurant called Fool on a Hill. The staff kindly informed us that, actually, they weren’t open yet. Their grand opening was the next day and they were just there getting everything ready. But wait! said the manager or owner, or whoever. Why don’t we practice on you?
We ordered the mushroom appetizer. They were hot, juicy, delicious. I had never had mushrooms like that. These stuffed mushrooms remind me of those mushrooms.
These seem so… gourmet, so complicated. On the outside. But trust me, these are simpler than you expect. So try them already!
Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms
Adapted from Kraft’s Ultimate Stuffed Mushrooms
20 fresh mushrooms (I only had about 10, but this recipe will make stuffing for 20.
3 tbsp butter or margarine
1 tsp minced garlic, one clove
1 tbsp finely chopped onion (I used half a smallish onion)
About half a cup of bread crumbs made from Caesar salad croutons, put through a food processor
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
Cheddar cheese for sprinkling, finely grated
Wash and dry the mushrooms. Carefully remove the stems. Hold the mushrooms with the button in your palm and push gently on the stem until you feel it let go of the side. Push on the other side. Gently wiggly the stem out of the button of the mushroom.
Now, melt the butter in a skillet. Add the garlic, onions, and mushroom stems. Cook until everything is tender. Then, add the crouton crumbs, cheese and seasoning. Mix together. The mixture should be perfectly moist.
Spoon it into the mushroom caps packing it in well so you can get as much stuffing in the mushrooms as possible. Top the mushrooms off with a sprinkle or two of cheddar cheese. Bake the stuffed mushroom buttons in a 400* oven for 15 minutes.
They were delicious. And, they got me thinking about appetizers. I have a few more I want to try: spinach dip, devilled eggs, home-made bruchetta, antojitos. I’d like to learn more about tapas, perhaps, and put together a dinner menu of finger foods.
Do you have a favourite appetizer?