Here's a light, springtime dish that can easily serve as a vegetarian main dish, a side dish or an appetizer: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. I made this up as I went along, using what I had in my pantry and refrigerator, and the results were so good, I've concluded it must be hard to mess this dish up! Man oh man, were they delish! We ate this alonside a piece of tilapia, that I "oven poached". The hearty mushrooms balanced nicely with the delicate fish, and we hardly knew we were eating healthy -- something I have to sometimes hide from my family! My son does not care for mushrooms, so I set aside some stuffing for him to eat as a side dish. The extra used as a side dish was really good too, so don't hesitate to try this even if you don't like mushrooms! If you have not tried Portobellos, because of the cost, which I admit can be daunting, check your local big box store or Trader Joe's, where they are a little more affordable. If you don't want to spring for Portobellos, there is no reason this could not be stuffed into white mushroom caps. That way, they would be a perfect appetizer bite!
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
2 Portobello mushrooms
1 medium onion (about 2/3 c.)
2 minced garlic cloves
2 T. olive oil, divided use
2-3 big handfulls baby spinach, stemmed, washed and dried
2 pieces whole grain bread, stale is better, toasted
6 stems fresh thyme
1/4 c. dry white wine
salt and pepper
a few drops of balsamic vinegar
a few shavings of parmesan reggiano, optional
Over medium heat, in a large, shallow skillet, add one T. olive oil, the onion and garlic. Saute for several minutes, until the onion begins to get translucent. Remove the mushroom stems, wipe them down, chop them (small pieces, discarding any part that seems too "woody") and add to the skillet. Rough chop the spinach and add to the onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Strip the leaves from the thyme stems and add this also. Continue to saute over low heat, while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare your mushroom caps.
To prepare the mushrooms, dampen a clean dish towel or a heavy duty paper towel. Wipe the exterior of the mushrooms clean of all debris, and peal off any of the looser "skin"from the outside of the caps -- it will kind of come off in strips. Don't worry if it all does not come off, just make sure they are wiped cleanly. With a teaspoon, make a shallow indentation in the center where the stem was -- you can add this little bit to the skillet also.
Add a tablespoon of white wine to the skillet and stir this in.Crumble up your toast, into small pieces and add to the mixture, incorporating it well. Taste and correct the seasoning -- you may need a little more salt at this point. Stuff the mixture into the mushrooms, mounding it up slightly. This amount will make more than enough for 2 mushrooms, with a little left over for another mushroom (or 2) or a side dish for a non-mushroom eating teenager.
Place the mushrooms into a casserole and pour the rest of the wine around the sides. Put them into the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until the mushrooms soften. When you remove them, sprinkle a drop or 2 of balsamic vinegar over each. Top with a shave or 2 of parmesan reggiano, if desired.
I bet you are going to love this dish! Let me know what you think!