FROM JULIETA: I am delighted that Patti has asked me to share this easy tapas recipe for Stuffed Mushrooms, or Champinones Rellenos, with her readers. My name is Julieta and I blog about my cooking and recipes at Lindaraxa’s Garden.
As some of you may know, tapas is the Spanish name given to a wide variety of cold or warm appetizers or snacks served in select bars all over Spain. The name comes from the verb tapar which means to cover and is believed to have derived from the fact that these small plates were placed on top of drinks to protect them. The popularity of tapas has been such that, lately, a whole cuisine has developed around them and you will find a variety of cookbooks, just on these delightful appetizers, from well known Spanish and American chefs. A tapas buffet is an easy and delightful way to entertain, especially around the holidays for they are meant to encourage conversation and mingling amongst your guests.
These stuffed mushrooms can be served on their own or as part of a tapas buffet. The stuffing can be made a day ahead and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Just the perfect recipe for a holiday cocktail party.
Makes 4 dozen
3 ounces day-old white bread (about 3 slices), crusts removed
2 scallions, white and light-green parts only, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
3 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 ounce dry Monterey Jack or Parmesan, grated on small holes of box grater
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
48 button mushrooms (about 1 1/2 pounds), stems removed and caps cleaned
Pulse the bread in the bowl of a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Place the scallions, bell pepper, and goat cheese in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped and well combined. Transfer mixture to the bowl with the bread crumbs, and stir. Stir in the cilantro, half the grated Monterey Jack, salt, and pepper.
Heat oven to 350 degrees; position rack in the center of oven. Place mushroom caps, cups facing upward, on a large cookie sheet. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of stuffing mixture into each cap. Bake until mushrooms are tender and filling is hot, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms, turn oven to broil, and position rack about 4 inches from broiler. Sprinkle mushrooms with remaining grated cheese, and broil until cheese is golden, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.