Spinach Pesto Portobellos


So I finished watching a fabulous BBC miniseries called In the Flesh.  It’s pretty much a British take on The Walking Dead (think diseases, zombies, and angry people), but it’s entirely new and fantastic in its plot and perspective.  What I really enjoyed was that the focus really wasn’t about horribly gory scenes of flesh-eating “rotters,” but more about the psychological journey for everyone involved.  The rotters themselves were actually sufferers of Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS), and the government had learned how to treat them so they could control their rabid state (flesh-eating and whatnot) to make them more docile (almost just like they were before PDS).  Of course, the return home from treatment for sufferers of PDS was less than warm, as a vigilante group called HVF (Human Volunteer Force) had stepped in to kill any and all PDS sufferers.  But without going into too much more, the show was brilliant.  I highly recommend it.

In other news, I went to see Now You See Me on Saturday.  It was a pretty good movie, and there was a definite curveball at the end which I appreciated a great bit.  Overall, it wasn’t as amazing as some of the other movies that I’ve seen at late, but it was thoroughly entertaining and made a possibly-dull Saturday quite fun.

But enough about zombies and magicians.  Let’s talk about these indulgent stuffed mushrooms.

These mushrooms are the bomb.  They are incredibly savory, juicy, and meaty; and then they are spread with a generous layer of vibrant, green spinach pesto and a generous crumbling of goat cheese.  What’s more is that they are fresh and bright enough for spring or summer, but succulent and hearty enough for autumn or winter.



Spinach Pesto Portobellos

This dish was inspired by Bev, http://bevcooks.com/2013/02/portobello-mushroom-with-kale-pesto-guacamole/.  The pesto can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for at least a week.  I like to keep the pesto on hand and roast the portobellos as I need them.

3 large portobello mushrooms

olive oil

225 grams / 8 ounces baby spinach, washed thoroughly

35 grams / scant 1/3 cup walnut halves, toasted

30 grams / 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and curl the edges upwards (this will ensure that none of the mushroom juices run onto the pan and burn).

Using a damp paper towel, gently rub the caps of the mushrooms to remove any dirt.  Gently tear out the stems of the mushrooms and discard (or save them for a batch of homemade vegetable stock!).  Pour a bit of olive oil onto your hand and rub the cap and edges of a mushroom, and repeat with the other two.  Place the mushrooms cap side down on the baking sheet and liberally season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Place the mushrooms in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes.

While the mushrooms are roasting, begin your pesto.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and pour in a smidge of water.  Toss in your spinach and season with a pinch of salt.  While the spinach is wilting, prepare an ice bath in a small bowl.  Once the spinach has completely wilted, transfer it to the ice bath to stop the cooking.  Remove the spinach and wring out as much water as you can.

In the bowl of your food processor add in the spinach, walnuts, mozzarella, garlic, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper.  Pulse until a thick paste forms.  With the motor still running, pour in two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of water.  Taste the pesto and adjust the seasonings as necessary.

When the mushrooms have finished roasting, there will be a great deal of juice that has accumulated within the cap.  Turn the caps over to drain the juice and flip them back to how they were.  Fill each cap with a third of the spinach pesto and top each with a tablespoon of crumbled goat cheese.  Return to the oven for another minute or two to soften the goat cheese and slightly warm the pesto.  Remove and serve immediately.

Serves 3 as a lunch or light dinner


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