December 14, 2012
Something Different For Christmas
T'was the night before Christmas,
When all through the kitchen,
Not a thing was prepared
There was no finger-lick'n
Mum just didn't care
At this time of year,
But within a few hours
All the guests would appear
No gluten, no lactose, no seafood or meat
What could she prepare to combat the heat?
Away to the fridge she turned with a sigh,
But what in the depths would appeal to her eye?
Some mushrooms, some crumbs
Herbs and goats cheese,
She knew there was something
In those to appease
'Flash Fried Fungi Fritters'
Should fit the bill,
As a Carnivores side dish
Or a Vego's main thrill
She stuffed them and fried them,
With barely a splatter,
Then piled them all up
On a Christmassy platter
Something Different for Christmas
They were all gobbled down,
All the InTolerants were happy
With nary a frown
My wishes for you
With plates polished bright,
Happy Christmas to all,
And to all a good night!
Cooking at Christmas can be such a pain!
Don't get me wrong- I love cooking at any time, but with extended family get-togethers, food for the Big Day takes it to a whole new level indeed.
'What can I cook?' is something I often get asked by people a bit overwhelmed by it all, especially if there are InTolerants or other dietary restraints involved- including vegetarians on a day that seems to revolve around meat, more meat, stuffing and gravy.
Well, I don't know about you, but I like to multi task and my cooking is no exception. No way am I making a separate dish for everyone just to keep peace, so I came up with this yummy scrummy mushroom recipe where several can be used as a vegetarian main dish, or as a side dish for the meat eaters, or as a great little pre-dinner snack, or as classy nibble with drinkies. Now that's multi tasking! It's also gluten free, and lucky for me I can handle small amounts of goat/sheep product, so I made a great big pile and dug right in- yummo!
An added bonus at this busy time of year is all the goodness packed into these little mushroom morsels. They are nutrient-rich, high in anti-oxidants, very low GI, chock full of vitamin D, and can even boost immune function. And yummy, don't forget yummy.
Amounts for this recipe aren't terribly precise. It all depends on the mushrooms you choose and how large the cavity is. I found that the amount of filling I used filled 2 dozen nicely.
Nice little button Mushrooms
Fresh Goats Cheese (150gr)
Garlic to taste
Gluten free Crumbs- I used Orgran rice crumbs (about 1 1/2 cups)
Gluten free Flour (about a cup)
Fresh ground black pepper- no salt, the cheese is quite salty and mushrooms have heaps of umami
Oil for deep frying- I like cholesterol free Rice Bran oil
Pop the stems out of the lovely little mushroom caps, just tidy them up a bit and make sure there's a good size cavity for filling
Chop about half of the stems nice and fine to use in the stuffing
Place the goats cheese, mushroom stems, spring onion, minced garlic, thyme and pepper in a bowl and mix, mix, mix until well combined
Spoon the filling into the cavity, carefully squishing it down to make sure there are no little empty pockets of air in there.
Smooth the top over, making sure the filling doesn't extend over the edges too much
Prepare yourself for the messy bit
Put the flour, beaten eggs, and crumbs in separate bowls
Start a production line going, keeping one hand for dry ingredients and one for plopping in and out of the eggwash. This is VERY handy in case the phone rings when you're still in the middle of it all
Place the mushrooms in the flour, then shake well to remove any excess
Transfer them accross to the egg and dunk them well all over
Using your designated 'goopy' hand, fish them out and plop into the crumbs.
Make sure they get a really solid coating to avoid the mushrooms and filling splitting and spitting in the hot oil, and to make sure they don't absorb excess oil as well
I like to repeat the egging and crumbing process to make sure I get a good coating, and a really nice crunch from the crispy crumbs. It doesn't take away from the flavour at all, and adds a great textural contrast to the soft mushroom and creamy smooth goats cheese as well
The little fritters can be set aside in the fridge for a few hours now if you want to get ready for the festivities,
Otherwise carefully deep fry them at a very moderate heat, until they are gorgeously golden and crispily crunchy.
I found the larger mushrooms wanted to float belly down leaving the dome in danger of being sadly soggy, but if you wait a few moments you can flip them over carefully and they seemed happy to stay that way for a while. The smaller ones were much more well behaved and stayed flipped when asked to
Serve these fritters nice and warm, NOT straight from the pot! As I discovered to my peril, whilst they are sooooo tempting, give them a moment or two as the cheese melts into molten marvellousness that can sear off your taste buds and cause the rest of your meal to not taste like much at all. And it would be such a shame to put all that Festive Feasting to waste, wouldn't it?
So my Dearest Readers, how much do you love mushrooms, and will you be serving them up on your Christmas table?
This post was paid for and sponsored by The Australian Mushroom Growers Association, as part of their Summer of Mushrooms campaign.
My opinions and love of mushrooms however, are purely my own!