Wednesday is for Foodies ~ Spending the middle of the week in the heart of the home.
In the gardening season this could be made with chopped Swiss chard, but in the winter it’s great with the organic baby spinach that’s widely available in supermarkets.
Spinach, lemon and basil is always a great combination. This recipe uses some basil pesto and some of the chopped fresh basil I was talking about last Friday.
The smoked mozzarella gives the mushrooms a hardy, meaty flavor. This is wonderful vegetarian main dish but it also be served as a side dish along with meat or another veggie entrée.
Serves four people as a side, two as an entrée unless really large Portobellos are used.
Heat oven to 350 degrees
4 medium to large Portobello mushroom caps
1 package of baby spinach or 5 to 8 leaves chard from the garden
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices smoked mozzarella cheese, about ¼ inch thick (if smoked cheese isn’t available you can use plain)
2 Tablespoons pesto – frozen homemade or store bought
zest of 1 lemon
A tablespoon of olive oil for brushing the edges of the mushroom before baking
Four to six sprigs of fresh basil if available
Wipe off mushroom caps with a damp paper towel and remove the stems. Place them on a parchment covered or greased cookie sheet.
Steam spinach or chard in a pan with about an inch of water for about 5 minutes until completely wilted.
Pour into a colander or sieve and press most of the water out with a spoon.
Place one slice of mozzarella on each mushroom cap.
Mix the spinach with the Parmesan cheese, grated lemon rind and pesto.
Divide the spinach mix between the mushroom caps. Brush the edges with olive oil, or spritz with an olive oil spray.
Bake in the oven for about twenty minutes. It’s normal for the mushrooms to leak liquid onto the cooking sheet. I often dab this up with a paper towel so that it doesn’t drip on the bottom of the oven.
Chop the fresh basil and sprinkle on the top of the mushrooms just before serving.
This is a dish that’s great heated up for lunch the next day, so make more than you need and box some for tomorrow.