In my early teen years, my mom co-owned a restaurant called Perroni's. It was an Italian bar & grill type of place that had several appetizers which were irresistible to my 13 year old self. Dishes like garlic cheese bread with marinara on the side for dipping. I used to go into the kitchen and make a batch for myself, watching the cheese melt, bubble and brown as it went down the conveyor belt of the pizza oven. Every time I ate it I would think to myself, “I could live on this for the rest of my life.” I still actually feel that way.
The menu also had a sautéed mushroom appetizer that was pretty darn good. I don’t know exactly how they were prepared, but I do know it involved a lot of garlic and a lot of butter. These stuffed mushrooms taste a lot like those did, but are a bit more complex. Spicy and creamy, salty and crunchy, I feel like they are the sophisticated older brother of the sautéed ones from Perroni’s.
I made these over the weekend where we did my side of the family’s Christmas celebration and they were a hit. My step dad thought they were too spicy, so you can leave out the jalapeno seeds if you are spice sensitive. I really liked the heat, though.
12 whole mushrooms, Large
¼ cups Panko bread crumbs
1 Tbs butter
3 slices thick cut bacon cut into lardons
1 whole jalapeno, minced
¼ cups diced yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 oz. cream cheese
2 oz. cheddar cheese
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons fresh ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the melted butter. Toss until evenly coated. Set aside.
Carefully clean and stem the mushrooms. Set the caps on a small baking sheet. Chop the stems and set aside.
In a small pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Add the onion and garlic and saute until fragrant. Then add the jalapeno and mushroom stems and cook until softened, about five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, mix the shredded cheese with the cream cheese until well combined. Add the bacon mixture and mix well.
Spoon the filling into the mushrooms caps and top with the buttered panko mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and the topping is golden brown.
**You can prep these ahead of time by stemming the mushrooms and preparing the stuffing mixture. Refrigerating the mushroom caps separate from the mixture until ready to use. Make the bread crumb topping right before assembly.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!