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Baked mushrooms with Italian flavours

Oct 4, 2019 | Light meals, Vegetarian

More than just mushrooms
Mushrooms are wonderfully versatile and owing to their meaty texture, equally popular as a side dish or the base for a vegetarian or even vegan dish. The nutty flavour especially when roasted, pan-fried or grilled is delicious as mushrooms go with so many different flavours, making them even more interesting to use.

In this recipe Italian flavours are added to make a delicious side dish with a braai or serve them as a vegetarian meal – perfect for this time of year. The oil is seasoned with lemon and herbs and serves a double purpose to partly brush over the mushrooms and season the tomatoes with the rest. All of this is topped with cheese and roasted together – yum!

The very large mushrooms are often used as gluten-free pizza bases and roasted in a similar way to this recipe. The list of ingredients to use as toppings can be endless. Be creative according to your preference, whether you ‘build’ a pizza with more veggies, bacon, ham or other cold meat or season cream or cottage cheese with wholegrain mustard and fresh herbs to fill the mushroom with before roasting. Almost any cheese is good with mushrooms, from good old cheddar to mozzarella, pecorino, camembert, goat’s cheese and even blue cheese.

Two tips with mushrooms
Never wash mushrooms – they are literally like little sponges and will absorb a lot of water, only to push it out once they get into contact with heat. In a frying pan this becomes a struggle, as the mushrooms cook in the liquid and do not fry. Rather wipe them with a piece of kitchen towel as the growth medium they are planted in, is infact sterile and not ‘dirty’ and easy to wipe away. Mushrooms will last longer in a cloth or brown paper bag, as they sweat and deteriorate faster in plastic. This recipe is from the Muse magazine, a community magazine based in Cape Town, where I regurlarly contribute a recipe. 

Recipe
Baked mushrooms with Italian flavours
Serves 4 – 6
Ingredients
4-6 large brown mushrooms (portabella’s)

80 ml (⅓ cup) olive or avocado oil

45 ml (3 tbsp) chopped Italian parsley

finely grated rind of ½ a lemon

black pepper to taste

200 g cherry tomatoes, cut in wedges

125 ml (50 g) coarsely grated mozzarella cheese

125 ml (50 g) coarsely grated mature white cheddar cheese

45-60 ml (3-4 tbsp) basil pesto

handful fresh rocket leaves

1-2 avocados, when in season

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200 °C and place mushrooms on a baking tray or shallow oven dish.
2. Mix oil, parsley, lemon rind and pepper together. Brush mushrooms with half of this mixture.
3. Add the tomatoes to the remaining oil mixture and spoon onto the mushrooms. Mix the two cheeses together and sprinkle on top.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted, turns slightly golden brown and the mushrooms are just cooked, still holding their structure.
5. Serve mushrooms with dollops of pesto and fresh rocket. When in season, slices of avocado are also delicious with the mushrooms.

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