It’s summer time. It’s grilling season. Put those two together and you get burgers and dogs, kebobs, salmon and corn on the cob and, well, the list goes on and on. The thing is, when you look at the list, it is almost always entrees with some vegetables thrown in. The thing you don’t see a lot of is grilled appetizers.
One common appetizer is stuffed mushrooms, but few people think to use the grill when cooking them. The party is in the back yard, so the last place that you want to be is stuck in the kitchen baking anything. There are so many things the grill can be used for, but because you are so used to baking a lot of them, you get stuck relying on that oven.
If you remember, last week I was brought back to one of my previous lives way back in the cave-man days. Well, let me just tell you that back then, long before Maytag was invented, everything was cooked over the flame. Of course, the appetizers were fairly simple back then, like shaved triceratops bacon-wrapped salamander, but they came straight off the fire onto your palm. No, we didn’t have plates yet, but boy were our hands tough.
Anyway, if you stop and think about it, there really aren’t many things that can’t be cooked on the grill. Even when you think of some things that would just fall through the rack, all you need is a piece of foil over one section of grill. And, once you close the lid, you have your oven back, only it’s outside with all your guests and it also is picking up that grilling flavor that you just can’t get from the oven.
Since it was Heather that reminded me of grilling the stuffed mushrooms, I’m going to give you her recipe. I wonder if she also had a déjà vu from back in her cave days. Come to think of it, I thought she looked kind of familiar. I wonder if she was from my cave-a-hood?
Anyway, hers is a Greek-style stuffed shroom, but, as always, look at it and use it as a guide to build your own stuffing. Once you see the ingredients, I’m sure you will get a ton of other ideas. This stuffing also would go really great into a stuffed cherry tomato, and yes, those, too, can be grilled.
Just one bit of advice from Ryan, which you really should heed: be it a mushroom or tomato, let it cool a bit before popping it into your mouth because the juice inside will stay hot for a few more minutes than you think and that juice will really burn your mouth.
One last thing: If you want to add a little more smoky flavor, simply soak a small piece of apple or cherry wood and put it right on your coals. Enjoy.
Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms
12 mushrooms, stems pulled out
12-14 olives, chopped
3-4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
½ t thyme and/or fresh basil, chopped
2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
Mix the olives, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese and chopped herbs together. Stuff the mushroom caps.
Grill the mushrooms close to, but not directly over, the flame turning a few times so the filling, as well as the center of the mushroom, has a chance to heat up throughout.
Drizzle just a touch of olive oil over the mushrooms just before serving.