“Mushrooms are perfect for the cook in a hurry…there is virtually nothing I enjoy more than large, flat mushrooms, brushed with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, then grilled and served with the juices that have collected in the grill pan. I find huge flat mushrooms, the most mature of all cultivated fungi, as juicy and tender as a piece of steak”Nigel Slater, Real Fast Food
We used to travel regularly throughout the year to Cyprus, and we had a favourite restaurant there, which we would visit a couple of times a week. In the winter it was particularly cosy, with a roaring fire. In the blistering summer, of course, we would sit outside.
We became friends with the owner, Artemis, and this made us feel particularly welcome… or at least three of us did – our son was treated to merciless teasing, always tempered later by a free ice cream. He gave us the recipe for one of the restaurant’s specialities – baked mushrooms. Simple, always good.
These are good as a starter too – serve them astride a round of toasted brioche.
Variation with blue cheese and walnuts
And if you want to ponce this up a bit more, you could crumble over some feta, or blue cheese (especially compatible as blue cheese gets its taste and colour from a type of fungi)… and some chopped walnuts. If you do this allow 120g/½ cup crumbled blue cheese, 1-2 tbsps of chopped walnuts (care with this – too much and it will taste of sawdust) and substitute the lemon juice for balsamic vinegar.
Recipe for Artemis’ Cypriot-stuffed mushrooms
Serves six as an accompaniment, or serve as a starter with some crusty bread to soak up the juices.
- 6 Portabella mushrooms
- ½ lemon, juice and zest
- 6 teaspoons dried Herbes de Provence (Artemis used dried oregano plus any fresh herbs to hand)
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed with 1 tsp smoked salt
- 10 grinds of Indonesian long pepper
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 210°C.
- Peel the Portabella mushrooms and take out the stalk – chop the stalks very finely.
- Mix the chopped stalks with the rest of the ingredients and use to stuff the mushrooms.
- Bake for ten minutes.