Thursday, May 22, 2014

Portobello Mushrooms Florentine


Portobellos Florentine, before baking
Last night, I made some really great stuffed portobello mushrooms. I only cook real food about once or twice a week lately, so I'm always happy when my efforts are worthwhile.

Meanwhile, apologies for the recent ill-prepped photos - I have absolutely zero patience for primping my food these days. I'm glad I just made anything to begin
with, and that it was good enough to post! And apologies for not posting so much anymore. Life is just too busy chasing an 18-month old, just getting through a minor sleep regression and entering the "tantrum" phase. My good meals come from the local sushi joint via delivery man who knows to be super-stealth quiet after bedtime (even my dog likes him enough not to bark). My great meals come from Trader Joe's freezer section - man those are fancy-ass good times, we're really livin' it up over here! Even my son falls into a funk of rotating options that sound like junk - burger, pizza, pasta... although I assure you they are probably more gourmet than the norm.

I've made the social life a bit more priority over my other projects too. I took a jaunt down to Atlantic City for a night with my girls, and I started a Meetup group to find some local girls (and kids) to hang with. We're also planning a trip to Prague and Vienna soon, with the kid in tow, so that should be quite interesting, as well!

Portobellos Florentine: firm, but tender, with a thin layer of spinach and crunchy pine nuts, and a crispy cheese and breadcrumb topping.

So about the portobellos... I did plan ahead on this, although I did not plan on harvesting my spinach garden quite so soon. I am SO not the gardening type, but I'm giving it an effort this year. I have a little container garden going on my patio, despite the big yard, because we have "Peter Rabbit" living in our yard, who likes to "num num num" on everything at 7:30pm nightly. So I thought the pest issues would be minimal at the side of the house. But as I picked my first handful of spinach last week I found little white larvae on the leaves. Thanks, Google, we've got Spinach Leaf Miners. GREAT. Oh yeah, and there's no remedy except manually removing larvae (pinhead sized) and harvesting frequently. Who-the-F in this house has time for that shit? And now I have to wash and rub clean every single leaf? It took me upwards of a  fricken hour to get it all done. I did NOT sign up for this when I planted my happy little spinach box.

But my spinach stuffed mushrooms came out really fantastic! All the elements are there: balsamic vinegar for acidity, cheese for binding and a crunchy top, pine nuts for texture. Mmm.

Portobello Mushrooms Florentine

Mushroom prep:
6 medium portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T aged balsamic vinegar
salt
pepper
garlic powder

Filling:
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C onion, diced
1 T garlic, minced
5-6 C fresh spinach, any thick stems removed, chopped into small pieces
1 tsp Italian seasoning or dried basil/oregano (I used a tuscan blend heavy on the celery seed)
salt
pepper
3 T Italian seasoned bread crumbs (or plain)
1/2 C grated parmigiano cheese
1/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 C toasted pine nuts


Heat oven to 400F.

1. Drizzle a little olive oil in a large glass baking dish and place mushroom caps gill side up. Drizzle each lightly with olive oil and about 1 tsp balsamic vinegar on each. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

2. Heat 1T oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions, cooking until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, cook 1 minute. Toss in spinach by the handful, stirring until wilted, and adding more. Cook about 2-3 more minutes until thoroughly wilted. Season with salt, pepper and herbs. Remove from heat.

3. To the pan, add 2 T breadcrumbs and 1/4 C parmigiano (reserving the balance for topping). Stir in the mozzarella and pine nuts.

4. Spoon spinach mixture onto mushrooms and top lightly with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake at 400F for 40-45 minutes. The topping should be browned and the mushrooms will become quite flattened - the clue that they are done.

Serve with pasta, salad, bread or even maybe a quinoa pilaf or cold couscous salad.
*For gluten-free, just skip the breadcrumbs, they're not absolutely necessary.





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