No, that’s not a typo for anyone who might be wondering. A Bakeover is the term I came up with for the wonderful successes I have taking some of my favorite fried dishes and making them healthier and more flavorful by changing a couple things and then baking, instead of frying, them.
One of my favorite treats when I go out with friends is to have one those “sampler platters.” You know the ones I’m talking about, four or six different kinds of fried finger foods with usually sugar and fat laden dipping sauces on the side? Yeah…I’m pretty much a sucker for those and if it’s on the menu, I’ll order it nearly every time, even though I know how bad they are for me.
A couple nights ago I was standing in the kitchen thinking about one of my favorite fried finger foods, battered fried mushrooms. It mostly was a matter of me trying to figure out what I loved about them so, because usually there’s not much crunch to the breading, very little seasoning, and often they fall apart or get cold before I can finish them. I was thinking of making a batch, obviously, but couldn’t find the true enthusiasm to do it. Then I glanced down and saw the lovely loaf of bread a friend had brought me Friday from the Belfast Farmer’s Market, which she bought from my good friend and AMAZING chef, Billi Barker, and her Enchanted Kitchen at Firefly Farm. The bread made me think ah ha! BAKEOVER TIME!
It has been sinfully hot and muggy here in Maine of late and I wouldn’t usually dream of turning my oven on at dinner time, but we were in the middle of huge downpours and amazing thunderstorms, thanks to Tropical Storm Arthur, and that dropped the temp to make it actually cozy having the oven on, so I went with it. The result? These one bite taste explosions:
How yummy do those look? And they were super simple, as well. Recipe follows!
- Half a loaf of good, crusty bread
- 1 pint baby Portabella mushrooms
- ⅛ cup finely diced sweet onion
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 clove garlic
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Take the bread and rip into chunks about the size of a tennis ball. Using pulse on your food processor, chop these chunks into coarse crumbs. If you have a smaller processor you may have to do this in two batches. Set the crumbs aside in a medium mixing bowl. If you don’t have a processor, slice the bread into thick slices and toast it in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, right on the rack. Then you can put the slices into a large resealable bag and crush them with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy skillet.
- Gently remove the stems from the mushrooms using an easy twist-and-tug motion. Set the caps aside for now. Chop the stems and sauté in a skillet in 1 tablespoon of the butter until they are golden. Add these to the breadcrumbs in the mixing bowl.
- Melt another 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent with a little browning. Add these to the breadcrumb mixture. Using the smallest side of a box grater or microplane, grate the clove of garlic into the breadcrumbs.
- Now, using a soft dampened cloth or paper towel, gently wipe the mushroom caps to clean them. Put them in another mixing bowl, drizzle the olive oil over, and toss gently to coat them. Pour them out onto a cookie sheet and turn so the cavities are facing up. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the breadcrumb mixture into each cavity. If you have filling left over, put it into a freezer safe storage container. It makes a great addition to meat loaf, meatballs, or stuffed squash!
- Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Drizzle over the top of the mushrooms, and then bake them in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. The caps will soften and the filling with get toasty and luscious. Cool slightly and serve!