Friday, April 14, 2006

Crab-stuffed mushrooms

12 Zesta Saltine Crackers OR 1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 lb baby portabello mushrooms
1 egg
White cheddar cheese, sliced
4 ounces cream cheese
1 tsp Red Pepper flakes
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
6 ounces crab meat
1 tablespoon butter

Rinse mushrooms to remove any dirt, then twist and pop the stems out of the caps. There should be a little indent/divot in the cap, but if there isn’t, you can whittle it out with the tip of a knife. Finely dice removed stems and any stubborn caps that wouldn’t let go of their stems. Sautee diced mushroom stems along with butter, chopped red onion, celery until veggies are translucent. Add garlic until that starts to toast, then add cream cheese. Allow this mixture to cool.

In a largish bowl, combine crackers/bread crumbs, pepper flakes, pepper, romano cheese, eggs, crab meat and cream cheese/onion mixture. Mix this all together (it works best with your hands) until it’s very well combined and holds together. Butter a large baking dish (or, if you want, you can do individual small pans, like they do at Red Lobster). With a spatula, push the crab mixture into the indent of the mushroom cap and then heap a mound on top of it as well. Place mixture-side up in the buttered baking dish. Bake at 425 until mushrooms are starting to look done and release some of their liquid (about 20 minutes) then top with white cheddar. Bake until the cheese gets all goopy and then serve immediately.

You can do this with giant portabello caps too, but you might need to saute the mushrooms before stuffing them, since they won't really cook all the way. Personally I think this works best with many little caps versus impressive giant caps. Also, I started making this to replicate Red Lobster's Lobster and Crab stuffed mushrooms, and so far the cheese hasn't been quite right. I think the difference there is that I use actual cheese and they use some kind of plastic pretend processed cheese. I suspect it would taste more authentic if you used Kraft Swiss (R) singles, but then you might as well just give up and go to Red Lobster, you heathen.


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