Many, many years ago, when living in Boston, I was visiting my mother and younger brother for New Year’s Eve. I decided to make a fancy feast, consisting of stuffed mushroom caps, Chicken Cordon Bleu, green beans with almonds, and some heavenly dessert, which I’ve long since forgotten.
I worked in the small kitchen of my mother’s apartment, while in the next room she and Tom watched that night’s episode of the TV epic, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I kept poking my head into the living room to glance at the TV set, then turning back to my cooking. I think it must have taken all evening to cook up everything, distracted as I was. As I recall, we did not sit down to eat until midnight, fittingly. It was a sumptuous fest indeed!
I’ve loved stuffed mushroom caps ever since, though I don’t make them often. Here is my version, which is really quite tasty, if I say so myself.
For this recipe, I used fresh breadcrumbs, which is all I had on hand. I used Trader Joe’s European Style Whole grain bread, plus some Cranberry-flax bread from a local health food store. There were only a few slices of each left, and I simply mangled the bags of bread in my hands to create the crumbs. You could also process the bread in a blender or processor. Feel free to experiment with different flavors of bread. You can also substitute dry breadcrumbs.
Stuffed Mushroom Caps
12 large cap mushrooms, such as button or cremini
1-1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 Tbls. butter
3 Tbls. heavy cream
2 tsp. lavender buds
1) Heat the oven to broil. Remove the stems from the mushrooms, cut off a small piece from their bottoms, then rinse and mince the rest of each stem. Set the caps aside.
2) Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced mushroom stems and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the breadcrumbs and nuts and sauté another few minutes until browned. Add lavender and stir, then blend in just enough cream to hold the mixture together.
3) Wipe the mushroom caps with a damp cloth. Fill each one with 1-2 heaping teaspoon of the breadcrumb mixture, pressing it into the cap. If you have any leftover mixture, you can bake it in a small baking dish, or save it for another use.
4) Place the mushroom caps on a buttered cookie sheet, and broil for about 5 minutes. Serve hot. Yum!