Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Make Room for the Mushrooms!

Funghi, Pomodori Secche, Olive, Cipolle & Capperi alla Mollica
Mushrooms, with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, Onion and Capers in Crispy Bread Crumbs


Back home in Frankfurt, back in the kitchen and back to my old tricks, making something out of nothing- and something pretty wonderful at that!

Champignons, or "button mushrooms", are very common, widely used, eaten very often... and let's face it- pretty bland and boring! They often end up being mushy and soft and usually get soaked in cream or butter to make them more appealing... So I decided to add some other ingredients instead, doing something filled with Mediterranean flavors and make them crunchy, packed with flavor and delicious! I think even you good people out there might enjoy them too!


Filled with the tangy, sunny flavors of sun-dried tomatoes, olives and capers, these are almost a meal in themselves, but what they would work really well as would be an antipasti- different, vibrant and new!


The ingredients I used were 300g of mushrooms, 1 onion, 3-4 sun-dried tomatoes, 2 teaspoons of capers, 5-6 black olives, 1-2 cups of bread crumbs, a little Parmesan and some fresh parsley.


I love the way that this dish is initially crispy and flaky until you bite into it and that then the flavors of all of the individual ingredients come through so strongly- you have the best of both worlds... and a couple of other planets in this dish too!


 Very simple preparation is another great thing about making this! Simply slice the onion thinly, the sun-dried tomatoes too, grate about 1" worth of Parmesan, tear the olives in half to remove the stones... and finely chop the stalks of the parsley to add into the dish as they are packed with good flavor!


 Begin by frying the onion and the parsley stalks until the onion becomes translucent.


Then add the olives, capers, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms, season well with pepper, add just a little salt (as the olives, tomatoes, capers AND Parmesan are all quite salty in themselves) and fry with a little more olive oil for 3-4 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to turn brown.

Add enough water to cover the base of the pan, put on the lid and let the mushrooms steam away for 3-4 minutes, then remove the lid and continue stirring until the remaining water has evaporated away. By that time everything will be cooked through and ready to go!


Next, add a cupful of bread crumbs and a good pinch of the Parmesan- stir everything well and keep it moving until all of the ingredients get coated.

Add a second, generous scattering of bread crumbs and keep stirring... the moisture of the ingredients will make them stick and soon, they will begin to get toasted and golden brown... ready for eating and enjoying!


When they are finished, the mushrooms, as well as all of the other individual ingredients, will have a coat of golden crumbs that are crispy and delicious! They will have soaked up any of the juices or oil in the pan and be packed with flavor!


Serve them with plenty of coarsely chopped parsley and a little extra sprinkle of Parmesan for a little freshness- and there you have it! A much nicer mushroom antipasti than the same-old same-old and sure to please!


What are you waiting for? Pick up that fork and spoon and help yourselves! Or to be more accurate- get yourselves into the kitchen and have fun making your own! Buon appetito!

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