MONTVILLE, NJ - I thought I would stick with another easy vegetable recipe this week.  Like last week, this recipe is both delicious and easy to make.  It’s versatile as you can play with the flavors, the greens used, etc.  Here, a simple roasted Portobello is stuffed with a mixture of wilted spinach, cream cheese, a few sprigs of fresh sage, and finished with fresh breadcrumbs for texture and crunch.  The entire thing is roasted again until the cream cheese mixture is melted and browned to your liking.  You can serve this as a main course or as a hearty appetizer.  This dish is great served hot, warm, or at room temperature. 

PS:  All of these vegetables can be found at your local farmer’s markets and, luckily for us, most if not all area markets are now open.  So, take some time and support local farms!  You not only help the local economy but your taste buds will definitely thank you for the effort.

Ingredients:

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4 Portobello mushrooms

1 Bar cream cheese brought to room temperature

1 Bunch fresh spinach, wilted and chopped

3-4 Sage leaves, chopped

1 Egg

Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

2 Tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs

Instructions:

  • Remove the bar of cream cheese from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Rinse the spinach several times in cold water to remove any dirt and debris (fresh spinach is typically pretty dirty so it’s important to wash it thoroughly).  Set aside.
  • Finely chop the sage leaves
  • Place a pan over medium heat and add a touch of olive oil to the pan.  After a couple of minutes, add the rinse spinach to the pan.  The water from the leaves will splatter and sizzle in the pan, so be careful.  After a few seconds, use tongs and toss the spinach in the pan until just wilted.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the spinach and then use tongs again to remove spinach from the pan.  Place on a plate lined with a paper towel and allow to cool.
  • Clean the Portobello mushrooms by rubbing with a clean towel or paper towel until all visible dirt and debris is removed.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and place in a roasting pan.  Place pan in oven and roast for 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the oven and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Set aside to cool.
  • Rough chop the wilted spinach and set aside.
  • Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and using a fork, mash it and then whip it for a minute. 
  • Add the egg to the cream cheese.  Whip the egg and cream cheese until completely combined.  Note: it will take a while for this to happen.  At first, it will seem sort of clumpy.  Just keep stirring and whipping and it will come together after several minutes.
  • Add the fresh sage and wilted and chopped spinach to the cream cheese.  Stir to combine. 
  • Taste cheese mixture and adjust seasoning by adding salt and freshly ground pepper as necessary.
  • Remove the mushroom stems from the mushrooms.  Then spoon the cheese mixture into the mushrooms until they are filled and slightly mounded.  Depending on the size of the mushrooms, you may have extra filling.  There is no need to overfill the mushrooms if that is the case.  The filling can be used as a dip for vegetables or crackers as well.
  • Once the mushrooms are stuffed, sprinkle the fresh breadcrumbs over the top.  Then drizzle just a touch of olive oil over the top of the whole thing.
  • Roast the mushrooms again for another 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and nicely browned.

Remove from oven and serve immediately.  If desired, allow to cool and serve either warm or at room temperature.  

Craig Thiebaud is a Diplomat of Classic Culinary Arts at the International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute) located in SOHO in New York City. After extensive training in the Art of French cooking and professional food preparation in general, he brings his knowledge of food and passion for cooking to us by sharing culinary techniques and creating recipes that mainly use local, seasonal ingredients and can be easily recreated in the home kitchen. Good, wholesome meals for the family can be created quickly with planning, using the best techniques with the best ingredients that are both affordable and available. Let's get back into the kitchen together!