Stuffed mushrooms with ricotta & walnuts

Over five years later, and I’m revisiting one of my first dishes. What did I learn in those five years, if anything?

It’s funny to look back on some of the older posts to see who I was as a person and as a cook when I first made a particular dish. So young. So very bad at taking pictures. Little did I know that all of these years later, nothing at all would be any different.

Ok, based on technology alone, that’s not technically true. My current iPhone 6S takes a better picture than the my iPhone 4S from 2012. Just see for yourself.

Such low quality…pixels? I don’t know cameras.

Now behold the magic of 2017.

Look how only slightly better this looks!

While the picture quality hasn’t changed that much (probably?), this time around, the food is completely different. As noted in my recent entires and return to blogging, Wife aka Mrs. The Food Chain aka [REDACTED] bought me a smoker a wedding gift. So yeah, I smoked the hell out of this refire.

Recipe courtesy of Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite
Recipe reprinted at House & Garden
Serves 4

Does It Smoke?: Mushrooms are a blank canvas. No matter how you cook them or no matter what you cook them with, they take on so many of the surrounding flavors. Because they’re so versatile, smoking the mushrooms took them to a whole new level, and the smoke brought out some of the earthiness of the mushroom.

In my opinion, a mushroom by itself can handle almost any wood from a light smoke to something more intense. The only issue with this recipe here is the filling – a mixture of ricotta cheese, fresh oregano, parmesan and crushed walnuts. Ricotta is very delicate and light, and the mixture is balanced with the nutty flavors of, well, nuts and parmesan cheese. So I took it down a notch and used a light pecan wood.

I filled the mushroom caps with the ricotta mixture, put them right on the grill grates and smoked them at 225 degrees for 30 minutes. From there, I topped them with a little more parmesan (because cheese) and smoked them for about 10 more minutes. Once the cheese started to get to a nice golden brown color, they were done and ready to eat

Breakfast? Maybe in England.: Ramsay’s book says that this is a breakfast dish, but I have to disagree. Smoked or not, the closest this dish gets to breakfast is maybe serving it at brunch which covers all kinds of foods.

Ramsay also served it on toast. As I recall from all the way back in 2012, eating it on toast was strange and almost made the dish seem overly dry – which is probably why I didn’t go back to it for five whole year. This time, I didn’t bother with the toast, and was satisfied.

If you really want to serve this for breakfast because you think Ramsay is smarter than me, I think a runny egg would really bring the toast and the mushroom together. Otherwise, keep this for brunch, a small plate or an appetizer.


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