Florida Produce: Mushrooms
Just like celery in last week’s post, Florida isn’t known for growing mushrooms either. But we do!
Mushrooms that are good for eating and cooking are grown year-round in Florida. They add flavor to any dish. They are mainly grown in Alachua and Suwannee counties.
How to buy:
Look for unblemished mushrooms with no signs of bruising, tearing or soft spots. The stems should still be intact and the caps firm, not shriveled or dry.
Tips for storage:
Store mushrooms unwashed in a paper bag for up three days. Mushrooms absorb smells, so don’t store them next to strong smelling foods. Never wash mushroom before storing them because they readily absorb water.
Always trim the stems and lightly wipe with a damp cloth to remove any dirt clinging to the surface. Mushrooms can be kept white during cooking if you add a quarter teaspoon of lemon juice for every two tablespoons of olive oil or butter. When cooking whole, choose uniform size mushrooms so they cook at the same rate. Mushrooms can be eaten raw, however cooking them makes more of the nutrients digestible, and brings out more flavor.
Flavors well with:
Onions, seafood, beef, rosemary, thyme, sage
Here’s a delicious recipe from Chef Justin that I’ve made myself and it was fantastic! Enjoy!
Florida Mushrooms Stuffed with Feta and Spinach
Yield Approximately 40 Stuffed Mushrooms
1 package (about 3/4 pound) Florida button mushrooms, stemmed
4 ounces lean bacon slices
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 of a 10-ounce package chopped frozen spinach, thawed (squeeze out as much water as possible)
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 ounces low fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet until crispy. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. After the bacon has completely cooled, crumble into small pieces. Save remaining bacon grease for later use.
Heat 2 teaspoons reserved bacon fat in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and cook until tender and translucent. Transfer to medium mixing bowl and cool. Combine bacon, spinach, feta, cream cheese, crushed red pepper, and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Line 2 large baking sheets with foil. Toss mushrooms with 3 table spoons of the reserved bacon grease in large bowl to coat. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms, rounded side down, in single layer on baking sheets. Bake mushrooms until tender, and cooked through (around 15 minutes). Remove mushrooms from oven, let cool slightly and let them drain in a colander. Once the mushrooms have cooled and drained, start stuffing them with the filling by spooning 1 heaping teaspoon of filling into each mushroom cavity.
Bake mushrooms until browned and bubbly, around 10 minutes. Serve mushrooms warm or cold.