This recipe kind of gave me an idea of what it’d be like to be a contestant on Chopped. As part of the Kitchen PLAY progressive party with The Mushroom Council I was given an ingredient and a course and basically left to my own devices to figure something out. Thankfully, neither Ted Allen nor Alex Guarnaschelli are sitting at my kitchen table waiting to rip me apart. Although, some people out in internet land can be equally as scary I guess.
Luckily, I fared way better than most Chopped contestants with the “secret ingredient” being mushrooms in this case and not some obscure edible like a sea cucumber.
My love for mushrooms runs deep. Not that I ever have plans on becoming a vegetarian, but I’m pretty sure that if I did, the many varieties of funghi would be my one saving grace. They can be meaty and delicious on a bun, sautéed to a perfectly caramelized crisp or stuffed with just about anything as the perfect bite-sized hors d’oeuvres.
But since stuffing the mushroom itself is probably the most predictable route to go when tasked with creating an amuse bouche, I decided to flip it & reverse it and use the mushrooms themselves to stuff something else, channeling my inner Chopped contestant creativity.
Now technically, an amuse bouche is supposed to be something that can be eaten in one bite. Well, I’m counting on you all having big mouths with this one. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you clearly already know I do. I used the smallest pears I could find but half of any fruit that isn’t a grape or a cherry is a bit challenging to finish off in one bite for most. Apparently, my metaphorical big mouth doesn’t really equate to being able to polish off half a pear in one fell swoop. So, we’re just going to alter the definition of an amuse bouche for this one time. No harm, no foul. Unless you’re able to swing it in one-bite, in which case, I’ll say good for you and leave it at that.
Caramelizing mushrooms in butter is my absolute favorite way to eat them. It turns these crimini mushrooms (which by the way, are the same thing as baby bellas, just picked at different times…did you know that?!) into little sweet, flavor packed bites. K, the splash of red wine I added might’ve helped too. Add the salty gorgonzola for a pungent kick, some fresh basil and a drizzle of honey and you’ve seriously got the best one-bite two or three bite amuse bouche I can think of.
Not sure what Ted or Alex would say, but I’m declaring victory over here.
- 8oz. baby bella or crimini mushrooms, cleaned & finely chopped
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine
- salt & pepper
- 4 small pears (any variety will work)
- ¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
- honey for drizzling
- Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Add butter, olive oil and shallots and saute for about 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Add mushroom to pan and let them cook untouched for about 5-7 minutes until water has evaporated and they are starting to caramelize.
- Once that happens, add red wine, salt & pepper and toss the mushrooms in the pan.
- Once wine has cooked off (1-2 minutes at most), remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- Slice pears in half lengthwise and use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out the core leaving a circular hole in the middle of the pear.
- Spoon about 1-11/2 tablespoons of the mushroom mixture into each pear half.
- Top with the gorgonzola & basil and drizzle with honey to finish.
If you want a chance to win $5,000 by participating in The Mushroom Council’s Swap It or Top It recipe creation, click the picture below for more details.
*There will be a Mushroom Council twitter party on June 25th at 7pm EST, I’d love to see you join in the mushroom and recipe chat! RSVP for the event and follow the hashtag #TrendToBlend
*Disclosure: this post is sponsored by Kitchen PLAY and The Mushroom Council. Content, photography & opinions are all my own.