It is the time of year when hosts and hostesses get to shine or collapse from sheer exhaustion.  To keep ourselves out of that latter group, we need to be prepared with tried and true recipes. I came across this recipe for Garlic and Gruyère Stuffed Mushrooms last year when I was helping a friend out with a Christmas luncheon.  Since then, I have made them a dozen times to serve at home dinner parties and to bring along to friends’ homes when I am asked to bring something.  These would be perfect to nibble on with a glass of champagne as you toast the New Year!

Garlic is in the name of this recipe for a reason, it contains 10 cloves of garlic.  After all, this recipe was developed for Gilroy Garlic Festival.  Gilroy is a town in California that grows about 90% of the U.S.A.’s garlic.  I have not been to the festival, but I have driven through Gilroy and yes, it does smell like garlic!  The key is that the garlic is chopped, not minced, and especially not pressed.  I know people that thing the smaller they make the garlic, the subtler the taste will be, likely because they will not bite into a large chunk of it.  That distinctive garlic taste and aroma come from enzymes breaking down the organic compounds in the garlic.  These enzymes are stored in the cell walls of the garlic.  The more your break down the cells of the garlic (via mincing or pressing), the more enzyme is released, making the garlic taste even stronger.  So, for this recipe, put your garlic press away and get out your chef’s knife!

It is not just the recipe that I love, but the technique. The mushroom caps are tossed with olive oil and roasted prior to be filled.  This gets out a lot of the moisture in the mushrooms giving them a more pleasing texture and keeping your stuffing mixture from being diluted.  It also means while your party is on, it only takes a few minutes under the broiler instead of the usual 20 to 30 minutes for traditional stuffed mushrooms.  So even if this recipe is not for you, because maybe you are a vampire and avoid garlic, try this technique with your favourite stuffing.

Dybosyia!

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Garlic and Gruyère Stuffed Mushrooms

serves 6 – 8

90 ml (6 tbsp)  olive oil, divided; plus additional for drizzling

20 large cremini mushrooms

10 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small shallot, chopped

60 ml (¼ cup)  dry sherry

8 g (3 tbsp)  chopped parsley

8 g (3 tbsp)  chopped sage

1 egg white

150 g (1¼ cups)  Gruyère, grated

30 g (½ cup)  panko bread crumbs

Heat oven to 375°F.  Toss 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil and mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper.  Arrange mushroom caps stem-side down and bake until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Heat broiler.  Heat remaining, ¼ cup of olive oil in a 12” (30 cm) skillet.  Add the garlic and cook until golden, 4 to 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to paper towels to drain.  Add chopped mushroom stems, shallot to skillet and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until shallot softens, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add sherry and cook until evaporated.  Cool slightly and transfer to a food processor.  Add parsley, sage, and egg white.  Pulse until coarsely ground.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in reserved garlic, Gryuère, and panko.  Fill caps with about 1 tbsp (15 ml) of filling and return to baking sheet.  (At this point, the mushrooms can be tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.)  Drizzle the mushrooms with additional olive oil and broil until filling is warm and tops are browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.  

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