What is your favourite finger food?
On Easter, I invited a couple of old friends who came to visit Montreal for the holidays. Since I haven't seen them in years, the best approach is to spend as less time in the kitchen as possible and spend more time catching up. Serving finger foods is the appropriate theme for this evening get-together. Finger foods are anything that can be eaten without the need of utensils, quick and simple to serve. It can be meatballs, puff pastry rolls, mini-sandwiches or even freshly cut vegetables.
Recently, I received some helpful pointers from my catering and foodie friend on making the most satisfying and crowd pleasing stuffed mushrooms. Mushrooms contain over 90% of water and the rest is dry matter. It is not always pleasant to bite on watery mushrooms which would dilute the flavour of your stuffing. To extract the most flavours out of your stuffed mushrooms, it is best to expel as much water out of the mushrooms, not at a point to completely dry out, but still retains some moisture. The trick is to bake the raw mushrooms without filling for a couple of minutes. Let it cool and some of the liquid will spill out. Stuffed the mushrooms and do a second bake until fully cooked, this is how you make the perfect savory finger food.
These stuffed mushrooms are soft and tender, a little salty from the pancetta, a little sweet from the bell peppers and red onion, a little gooey from the cheddar and a little creamy from the goat cheese. So how many would you eat?
Makes 20 stuffed mushrooms
Preparation Time: 25 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
20 baby bella mushrooms or large white button mushrooms
80g pancetta or prosciutto, finely diced
1/4 cup green or red bell peppers, finely diced
3 tbsps red onions, finely diced
1 garlic, minced
1/3 cup goat cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Chopped parsley for garnish
1. Clean mushrooms and pat dry with paper towel. Carefully remove stems from mushrooms. Finely chopped stems and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400F.
3. Line a parchment paper on a baking pan, and place mushroom caps, hollow side down. Brush caps with olive oil.
4. Bake for 10 mins until slightly softened. Let it cool. Some liquid will spill out from the caps once cooled.
5. In a skillet, cook pancetta to over medium heat until it starts to crisp. Add in bell pepper, red onion, garlic and chopped stems. Cook until softened, about 5 mins. Cool.
6. In a medium bowl, mix pancetta mixture with goat cheese and cheddar.
7. Line an aluminium foil on a baking pan, and then transfer cooled mushroom caps, hollow side up. Spoon a tablespoonful of the filling into each mushroom cap.
8. Turn oven down to 375F. Bake for 10 mins until mushrooms are softened and golden. Sprinkle with parsley.