A bite-sized appetizer, perfect for cocktail parties!
I recently hosted a cocktail party for a group of colleagues. Being the empty nesting, “in the city” member of the board, I wanted to have a gathering that aligned with that thinking. Rather than having any sit-down food, I planned a menu that could be eaten while standing at our bar or counter. Some things were easy to choose: crostini with a fruit bruschetta and squash wrapped in prosciutto. I knew I needed one more hearty-ish dish, which is why I leaned toward stuffed mushrooms.
As I considered stuffed mushrooms, I thought about two items:
- What stuffing to use
- How to make them easier to eat when standing
The stuffing issue wasn’t hard, just something to consider. I didn’t want to make boring stuffed mushrooms that are just filled with breadcrumbs. I also considered crab but worried that it might clash with the other dishes. Next I considered spinach, but there’s nothing glamorous about spinach in your teeth at a cocktail party. Finally, I decided to go with sausage, as it would add flavor, make it a heartier appetizer, and wouldn’t get stuck in teeth.
Next to consider was the size of the mushroom. If you’ve seen stuffing mushrooms, they can be huge. Have you tried to hold one and bite into it? The remaining half usually crumbles all over your plate or napkin. So, although it took a little more effort to stuff the mushrooms, I went with smaller sized button mushrooms, which were one bite or two, tops.
What I hadn’t considered when I was creating this recipe in my mind, it is how easy it was to make. Using sausage eliminated the needs for lots of herbs and seasoning. The sausage did most of the work on its own.
These mushrooms were such a hit at the cocktail party that I made a second batch for Tapas Monday the following week. Seeing how quickly they disappeared at both meals, I think they were a success.
- 20 small button mushrooms
- 2-3 links hot turkey sausage*
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup parmesan
- Shredded asiago
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Wipe mushrooms and remove stems; save stems.
- Remove sausage from casing and place in preheated nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Saute for 5 minutes or until fully cooked.
- While sausage cooks, dice mushroom stems.
- Transfer cooked sausage to paper towel lined plate.
- Wipe out pan, add diced stems.
- Saute for 2 minutes, add garlic, and saute for 1 additional minute.
- Combine cooked sausage and mushroom mixture in a medium bowl.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Add bread crumbs, parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Fill each mushroom cap with a spoonful of mixture.
- Place filled mushrooms on wire baking rack set on top of baking tray.**
- Top with asiago cheese, and bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
- Should equal one cup when cooked
- Using a wire baking rack is not a necessity, but it does prevent the mushrooms from sitting in liquid while baking and makes them less messy when eating.