A delicious appetizer that is easy to prepare.
6 large button mushrooms
Olive oil for drizzling
2 T butter
1 shallot, minced
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
2 t chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 t minced pepperoncino (see Note below)
4 – 5 T Panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 to 6 T fresh Chevre
1 to 2 T chopped fresh parsley
Watercress, for serving
Reduced balsamic vinegar, for serving
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and finely chop. Set aside. Set the caps, holes downward, on a baking sheet. Rub the mushrooms with a small amount of olive oil and bake 10 minutes to shrink the caps slightly.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and gently fry the shallot until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and pepperoncino. Saute for 1 minute. Stir in all but 2 Tablespoons of the bread crumbs. Taste and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Mix the parsley and remaining breadcrumbs together in a bowl. Turn the slightly baked mushroom caps hole side up. Sprinkle the caps with salt and pepper. Divide the cheese evenly among the mushrooms, pile on the filling and scatter the bread crumbs and parsley over the caps. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until the tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Serve with a watercress garnish on the side and a generous swirl of reduced balsamic vinegar, if desired.
Note: Pepperoncino peppers can be found dried or pickled. The green, pickled version is easily found in supermarkets and on olive bars. The red, dried version is available at specialty grocery stores or via Amazon.com. Either version will work in this recipe.