I have been thinking for some time of creating a dish that I made as a special back when I was a chef at Joe Collins Italian Seafood Restaurant in Saratoga Springs NY (1978). A stuffed caprese Portobello mushroom baked to perfection with a fine drizzle of balsamic reduction and the bacon and fresh Italian basil laying over that melted fresh Mozzarella. It is not only delicious…but a nice way to make a lunch or dinner occasion that will really impress your guests. Easy and a small amount of pre-prep makes this a great menu choice and recipe to have in your personal food arsenal. I like to serve this with a crusty roll or piece of toasted baguette. Let’s dive back in time to 1978 and make my Baked Caprese Stuffed Portobello Mushroom with a Crumbled Bacon Topper.
6 each Portobello Mushroom Caps
1/2 pound Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
14 large Italian Basil leaves (chopped)
3 strips bacon fried and chopped
24 grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
1 tsp minced garlic
8 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried or fresh parsley (if use fresh chop finely and set aside)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp raw or brown sugar
ground black pepper
1/4 tsp Oregano
Place olive oil and garlic in a small sauce pan on Med heat until the oil just starts to make the garlic sizzle. Move off heat and pour into a small bowl.
Add chopped parsley into the oil and garlic bowl and stir to coat parsley
Place a pinch of ground black pepper and salt into olive oil mix
Place 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar and sugar in the same sauce pan that you used for the olive oil and garlic. Heat on medium and reduce the vinegar down with stiring until it is a nice thickened dark liquid. Move off heat.
Wipe off mushroom caps with paper towel if needed to remove and dirt (do not wash)
Use pastry brush or BBQ brush to coat the outside and inside of mushroom caps with the oil mix (make sure you scoop up some garlic with brush for each cap)
Place the 6 oil coated mushroom caps on a baking sheet of ample size
Pre heat oven to 350F
Slice fresh Mozzarella Cheese into little 1/2 squares
Place tomatoes and cheese in the shells to fill and line the interior
Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the tomato and Mozzeralla filled mushrooms
Sprinkle a nice amount of Oregano on each mushroom cap
Crumble a little bacon over each cap
Bake at 350F until the cheese is melted and starting to bubble and darken
Drizzle some of the reduced Balsamic vinegar over the mushroom cap. Little drizzle in weaving pattern over the cap will do fine.
Remove from over and sprinkle with the chopped basil
Serve hot with a nice piece of warm crusty bread.
Serves 3 persons nicely.