Thumbing through a new cookbook, I can’t help but feel anticipation and excitement, especially if I’m thumbing through an old new cookbook – like my newest purchase, The Picnic Book by Nika Hazelton, 1969. Filled with psychedelic illustrations against a jet set backdrop, it’s hard not to be swept away by Hazelton’s world of daytime luncheons across Europe. This recipe for stuffed mushrooms is so simple (her version is even simple with a premade blend of cheese), I had to try it.
Most stuffed mushroom caps have you cooking the mushrooms, but I prefer this version. The raw mushrooms never get slimy, and have a pleasant crisp texture next to the creamy cheese. This recipe is also infinitely versatile, but I really enjoy this simple presentation.
2 lbs button or cremini mushrooms, de-stemmed
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
8 oounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried herbs (thyme, dill, basil, etc.)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Fresh chives for garnish
Prepare a medium bowl of ice water and add the lemon juice. As you de-stem the mushrooms, toss them into the bowl of ice water. This will keep them from oxidizing. As soon as you’re done, strain and thoroughly dry off the mushrooms.
Note: Whole mushrooms don’t absorb very much liquid, but cut mushrooms do, so putting the de-stemmed mushrooms in an ice bath shouldn’t make them bloat.
To prepare the filling, beat together the cream cheese and butter until combined and smooth. Stir in the garlic and herbs, and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps, or put the mixture into a plastic bag, cut off the corner, and squeeze it into the mushroom.
Finish with chives.