Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert
10 portobello mushrooms (each 4 to 5 inches), stems removed and reserved, caps wiped clean
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
12 ounces baby spinach (about 10 cups)
2 tablespoons water
2 large slices white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, diced small (about 2 cups)
4 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup), see note
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Ground black pepper
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Using sharp knife, cut 1/4-inch slits, spaced 1/2 inch apart, in crosshatch pattern on surface (non-gill side) of 8 mushrooms. Dice remaining 2 mushroom caps and reserved stems into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside (you should have about 3 cups).
Brush both sides of caps with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon salt. Carefully place caps, gill-side up, on preheated baking sheet. Roast until mushrooms have released some of their juices and begin to brown around edges, 8 to 12 minutes. Flip caps over and continue to roast until liquid has completely evaporated and caps are golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes longer. Remove mushrooms from oven and heat broiler.
Meanwhile, place spinach and water in large microwave-safe bowl. Cover bowl with large dinner plate (plate should completely cover bowl and not rest on spinach). Microwave on high power until spinach is wilted and decreased in volume by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Using potholders remove bowl from microwave and keep covered 1 minute. Carefully remove plate and transfer spinach to colander set in sink.
Using back of rubber spatula, gently press spinach against colander to release excess liquid. Transfer spinach to cutting board and roughly chop. Return spinach to colander and press again. Set aside.
Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about 16 one-second pulses (you should have about 11/2 cups). Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Add bread crumbs and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until light golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer crumbs to small bowl and wipe out skillet with paper towels.
Return now-empty skillet to medium-high heat, add remaining tablespoon oil, and heat until smoking. Add chopped mushrooms and cook without stirring for 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes longer. Transfer to medium bowl.
Add remaining tablespoon butter and onions to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are light brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in sherry and cook until almost no liquid remains, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in reserved cooked mushrooms, spinach, thyme, goat cheese, cream, and walnuts. Continue cooking until cheese is melted and vegetables are well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Flip caps, gill-side up, and distribute filling evenly among mushroom caps; top each with 2 tablespoons breadcrumb mixture. Broil mushrooms until crumbs are golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking, School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog