Posts Tagged ‘breadcrumbs’

Today was going to be a good day. I woke up, made some tea, starting tidying up the kitchen for this morning’s shoot, and wham! Migraine. Yeah, migraine.  My body’s way of saying slow down, or I hate you, or something I haven’t quite figured out yet. These little treats starting appearing in my world about five years ago. Thankfully they are not as frequent as they were say about a year or so ago, but they still suck. What’s exciting about my migraines is that I get the auras. Flashy, jagged, broken glass-like lights in my vision just powerful enough to pretty much blind me for about an hour. Once or twice a month one of these fun-filled migraines will pay me a not so little visit. Nausea then kicks in followed by a fantastic headache that will last pretty much through the rest of the day. Aren’t I lucky?

The only solace that I could possibly find in this little shop of horrors is that many believe Picasso suffered from the same sort of migraines. If you suffer from auras, and you spend some time with his work then you will see exactly what I am talking about. There’s a certain point somewhere after his Blue period that you begin to notice a certain geometry in his paintings and drawings. Right angles, triangles, jagged, broken glass like shapes. And then there’s the Cubist period. Almost undeniable, in my opinion. There’s no proof that I’m aware of. No notes in a journal, or words spoken on the subject by a close friend. It’s all speculation, really. And by no means, am I an expert on Picasso, but, well, it’s nice to have a little camaraderie with one of my favorite artists of the 20th century. Someone I can commiserate with, if you will, on a visual plane. Literally.

I don’t always do this, and believe me, I can’t always do this, but, at times, once the auras have passed, I sometimes continue to plow through the day. Damned be the headache and fatigue, some days I just have to keep going. And today has been one of these days. I had mushrooms to stuff, by God! And so I did.

Ugly white mushrooms stuffed with bison, pecorino, fresh breadcrumbs and cilantro had to be made and they did not disappoint. Earthy, salty, and just slightly crunchy, these little guys should be popped in your mouth whole and followed by a swig of a rustic Rhone red.

Be sure to share.


Stuffed Mushrooms with Bison

Adapted from

I found twisting the stems off the mushrooms and gently using your thumb instead of a knife worked well to remove the broken stem bits still attached to the inside of the mushroom.

18 + large white mushrooms

Olive oil

1/4 Marsala

1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1 cup grated pecorino romano

1/4 lb ground bison

1 clove minced shallot

smoked paprika

4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

Remove and coarsely chop mushroom stems. Reserve caps and put aside. Warm oil in a large skillet of medium heat and add chopped stems. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Slowly add Marsala and let evaporate. About 2 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in breadcrumbs. Place mixture in a medium bowl and set aside to cool.

Using the same pan, place on medium heat and add a little oil. Add bison and chopped shallots and sauté until cooked. Sprinkle to taste of smoked paprika. About 3-5 minutes. Add bison mixture to breadcrumbs and mushrooms, stir and let cool.

Stir pecorino romano and cilantro into the mixture.

Place mushroom caps on a parchment lined baking sheet and spoon filling into the caps. Drizzle with olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until stuffing is golden and caps are browned.


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There are few things more historically sensual than proscuitto and figs. Bring the two together, and your senses merge the salty sweet flavors in a union that lingers on your tongue in a way I am sure the Romans were fond of.

I’ve never been a big fan of prosciutto, mostly because I don’t like ham. Not even a little bit. However, when I was introduced to prosciutto di Parma everything changed. I found prosciutto di Parma lacking in that chewy salty texture you find in American prosciutto. Di Parma is a bit drier and earthier then its American counterpart. The flavors are rich without being fatty. The Italians have been making prosciutto di Parma the same way for more than 2000 years using only two ingredients: pig and salt. Add fresh figs to the mix, and well, there’s quite of bit of closed-eye moaning as you pop the duet in your mouth.

As fig season is coming to a close I felt the urge to play with them one more time.  Once again, I turned to Judy Rodgers for inspiration. I’ve mentioned before that the Zuni Café Cookbook is not to be taken lightly. There are few corner-cutting tips in this book. Quite the opposite, in fact. Judy wants you to be involved with your food. Every recipe, every ingredient for that matter, has a story. She wants you to have your hands in the bowl experiencing each foods nuance with your fingertips. She wants you to become intimate with what you’re cooking. If you follow her recipes, you have little choice.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Prosciutto di Parma with Roasted Figs and Walnut Picada

What you’ll need:

8-10 ripe black mission figs, halved

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 tablespoons Walnut Picada (recipe below)

4-6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma

Preheat broiler.

Gently roll halved figs in olive oil and place cut-side up on baking sheet. Warm for 3-5 minutes until the edges begin to caramelize. Lay prosciutto on plates.

Remove figs from oven, sprinkle with walnut picada and place on prosciutto. Roll figs in prosciutto and serve warm.

Walnut Picada

What you’ll need:

1 cup olive oil

1 ounce peasant bread, sliced about 1/2 an inch thick

15-20 walnuts

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 clove garlic

4-6 fresh mint leaves

Pour olive oil in an 8-inch skillet and warm on medium-low heat. Place bread in heated olive oil and heat till firm in the middle, about 2-3 minutes on each side. You want to make sure your olive oil does not smoke, so lower the heat as necessary. Once fried through, remove the bread and place it on paper towels to cool.

This is where it gets involved:

Break the bread into chunks, discarding any parts that are still doughy. Place chunks between two clean paper bags and use a rolling-pin to crush into breadcrumbs. I had to do this on my knees on my kitchen floor. Doing it this way absorbs much of the excess of  oil. Optionally, you can make your breadcrumbs in your food processor, but how fun is that?

Preheat oven to 325, place walnuts on baking sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and place in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze and massage them to help remove some of their skins.  Remove the nuts from the towel and finely chop to about 2 tablespoons.

Finely chop lemon zest, garlic and mint. Give it a quick sauté to warm and soften the garlic’s bite. Stir the mixture with the breadcrumbs and add salt as needed.

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