I don't usually make appetizers when no guests are expected. (Who does?) I really love stuffed mushrooms, though, and so when I saw some large fungi at the store earlier this week I decided to treat myself and the Critic. Since he doesn't like mushrooms very much, this might not seem like much of a treat for him, but I figured I could bring him around with the right ingredients. (And I was right.)
Blue cheese and hazelnuts were a perfect compliment to the mushrooms and a little garlic and parsley finished the flavors perfectly. Aside from the baking time, they only took about fifteen minutes to prepare. Perfect for a little mid-week indulgence!
Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms (for 2-4 as an appetizer)
9 large mushrooms
1 slice of bread cut in fine cubes or 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used a little of both, as I had some bread to use up)
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup blue cheese (Roquefort or something nice and flavorful)
1/3 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Wash the mushrooms and remove the stems carefully. Chop the stems finely and cook them with the garlic in the olive oil until they have given up and reabsorbed their juice. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and work at it until the cheese is fully incorporated. Taste for seasonings; it probably won't need any salt as the cheese is fairly salty but will be the better for a healthy grinding of pepper. Pour a tiny amount of olive oil into the bottom of your baking dish and roll the mushroom tops in it. Place them in the bottom of the pan and carefully spoon the stuffing back into the mushroom caps.
Put them in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until they smell delicious and the mushroom caps are soft.