Need an App for that?

  Stuffed Creminis with watercress and balsamic reduction!

Stuffed Creminis with watercress and balsamic reduction!

As a techie, I have often been heard to utter the perhaps tiresome phrase - "There's an App for that".  In this case, we're talking about an Appetizer - Stuffed Mushrooms. I'm presenting them here as an appetizer, but they also work well as a side to a range of entrées - an omelette, roast pork, steak, fish - even next to a bean dish. Choose slightly smaller mushrooms and they become hors-d'oeuvres. Serve several and they can even be the main course! They work at all meals - a (posh) breakfast, or at lunch or dinner.

The brown-ish Cremini mushrooms lie on a continuum between white button mushrooms and larger Portobellos. They are older than the former and younger than the latter, and may be priced a bit higher than buttons, but chefs tend to prefer them to white buttons for their taste and texture. 

Mushrooms are loaded with nutrients and a low calorie food (though the stuffing ingredients are going to add a little bit to the calorie count). “Though neither meat nor vegetable, mushrooms are known as the "meat" of the vegetable world” (source) and are often a staple in a vegetarian diet – offering welcome texture and flavour.

There used to be a golden rule that mushrooms should be packaged / stored in a bag, but over the last few years many stores offer them pre-packaged and covered in plastic!? I have no idea why that became ok – but I always prefer to buy them loose and in a bag. (I suppose some people might be concerned about shoppers “touching” mushrooms that they don’t buy.) Mushrooms purchased in plastic should be stored in a paper bag once home. Check out Mushrooms Canada for tips and recipes.

The appetizer pictured here is served with greens. I was going to use arugula, but could not get them from my source, and instead used watercress. Turns out watercress is also loaded with nutrients, and hundreds of years ago was a “go to” remedy for scurvy. It must have been abundant at one time, whereas now it can be harder to source and more costly than other greens.

I’m not a big fan of “naked greens”, but did not want to interfere with the mushroom flavours. To a small bowl of watercress, I added less than a teaspoon of Canadian Maple Syrup. With a clean hand – in fact it helps if it is a touch wet – gently swish the cress and they quickly become covered with the maple syrup – enough for a gorgeous appearance / presentation and a subtle flavour that people will never guess. A balsamic reduction (which can be made, though is easier purchased) gussies it up – and further enhances the eating experience.

Click here for the recipe and enjoy this appetizer, side, main – whatever seem APPropriate :-)

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