Friday, July 2, 2010

Crab Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

The idea for these crazy-tasty mushrooms sprang into my head when I was visiting my local produce market [which I love-love-love!] and found their mushrooms to be much larger than normal. They're always a lot cheaper per pound than in our regular grocery stores, but they're usually smaller too. Fine with me, because they get chopped up and added to salads and sauces and wherever else I can throw a mushroom in, so who really cares about size anyway?

Last week though, they were big. Really big. And the caps were still closed, which always means they're fresher. I looked at these babies and thought, "No doubt about it; I shall stuff you!" And that's just what I did.

Buppy and I tossed around filling ideas --- there are so many options to choose from! --- and finally decided on a crab & cream cheese one. I searched high and low on the 'net, but couldn't find anything that was exactly what I wanted, so why not make up my own recipe? So I did. And it was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself [which I do].
It produced far too much for the amount of mushrooms we used, but we were rookies this go-round and will know to either make less, use more mushrooms, or just baked the rest of it right away and serve it with baguettes and/or crackers. Seriously, it's not like cream cheese & crab dip will ever go to waste, right? Unless you're one of those wacky people allergic to seafood, in which case, I pity you.

Crab Dip Stuffed Mushrooms
Recipe a la moi

1 [8 oz.] block 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c. reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 3/4 tsp. Old Bay
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 [8 oz.] container crab meat [do not use claw! anything but claw!]
14 large button mushrooms
Bread crumbs, optional
Parmesan cheese, optional

Wash the mushroom and remove the stems; set caps aside. Finely chop the stems and reserve to add to the cream cheese mixture later.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Beat together the cream cheese and mayo until smooth. Add the lemon juice, Old Bay and Worcestershire sauce and beat until just mixed. Add in the chopped mushroom stems and crab meat, then mix [with a spoon, not beaters!] until just combined. Do not over mix! You want the crab to still be a little chunky. Chunky crab is goooooooood!

Note: I'll tell you at this point that Buppy and I pre-baked the mushroom caps to allow them to release some of their liquid; nobody likes a soggy mushroom. I found a blog on the 'net that said salting and baking made them better, so I gave it a try. I'm not sure I'd suggest this to anyone else because it made a weird skin form around the outside of the mushrooms that we weren't too fond of. Won't do that again, so I won't provide cooking times or temp info here. My advice: don't pre-bake. I might change my tune after trying these again without pre-baking the mushrooms, but until then, I plan to steer clear of the pre-bake.

Take your mushrooms and lay them on a baking sheet, stem hole up. Stem hole? Kinda sounds dirty, doesn't it? Back to the mushrooms . . . fill each hole with a heaping spoonful [basically as much as will fit without overflowing out of the mushroom]. Really load 'em up. Then, if you're so inclined, sprinkle each button of goodness with a lil' bit of bread crumbs followed by a lil' bit of Parmesan cheese. Any cheese would work, and I'm sure you can use bread crumbs or cheese or both or neither. Whatever makes your skirt fly up.

Place the pan into the pre-heated oven for 17-20 minutes. My time here was much lower because as I said, I pre-baked my lil' shroomies. Most recipes that don't pre-bake them call for a cook time of 17-20 minutes, so that's what I'm going with. If your oven cooks as unevenly as ours does, rotate the pan half way through the cooking process. The mushrooms are done when they're soft and the filling is heated through. Mmmmmmm.
What you do with the leftovers is your biz, but remember that you'll definitely have some. Throw it in a small casserole dish, top with bread crumbs and/or cheese and bake that right along with the 'shrooms. Or just make more mushrooms. Invite your friends over for 'em --- they'll love you forever and always. Enjoy!

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