It’s just another meatless Monday, ooohhh, ohhh, ooohhh
My apologies to The Bangles and Prince for altering (and butchering) that song, and if you heard me singing that, you would agree with the butchering part. I do, however, make up for my lack of talent with sufficient levels of enthusiasm. Plus we’re quarantined like everyone else because Coronavirus, and I think it’s getting to my head just a bit on what feels like Quarantine Day Number 892.
But, hey, since we can’t go out, and we have to eat, It seemed like a good time to try some of these ideas that apparently float around with 80’s music in the vast expanse of my mind. So it was that we experimented with these cheesy mushroom scampi bread boats for meatless Monday. I am still trying to work from home as well as keep up with my graduate classes, so cut a girl some slack for not posting this on Monday :).
I will start by saying we are firm believers in the merits of plant-based meals. Mushrooms are one of the staples for meatless night because they take on a very meaty taste with the right ingredients and are readily available in my area. If you are a shroom fan, I promise you won’t miss the meat in this dish. But we can’t do vegan — my love for cheese is much too deep and intense for that sacrifice. Can this recipe be made vegan-friendly and exclude the cheese? Probably. If you are vegan or cooking for one and got past the ‘cheese’ in the title, do let me know about your success.
The bread boats began with a loaf of take-and-bake French bread from Aldi. Ours was two days old when I baked it, and it could have been a bit better the day before, but actually day-old is best because you need bread with structure for this one. We’re going to load those boats with some grated mozzarella cheese, and a savory mushroom mixture loaded with garlic, onion, butter, steak sauce, Tabasco, lemon juice, parsley and tarragon.
I cut the bread in thirds, then in half lengthwise before baking. This makes it easier to scrape out the inside to make the boats. Basically, you are creating a nice snug bed for the mushrooms to cuddle into.
Melt the butter, then add the shrooms, garlic and onion and sauté until softened and the mushrooms begin giving off their liquid. Your kitchen will start smelling pretty yummy, and this is your cue to toss in the tarragon, lemon juice, Tabasco, and steak sauce. I wouldn’t recommend getting heavy-handed with the Tabasco here — it is primarily just to add some extra flavor, not heat. Of course you can try it if you prefer a spicier boat, but do think about just shaking it on after if you have the urge. Chop this all up coarsely in the pan (we use these salad choppers), season with salt and pepper, and stir in the chopped parsley.
Prepare your boats with your previously scraped out baked bread. You need to have a little something for the shroom mix to use as a toe-hold, so sprinkle a thin layer of grated mozzarella across the boat bottoms. Don’t overload here, just enough to help keep the mushroom scampi in line — you want it to stay IN the boat, not walking the plank. Fill the boats with the shroom mixture about level with the tops of the sides of the boat, then load on more cheese before popping them under the broiler just long enough to bring melty goodness on the top.
The complete recipe:
- 1 lb (450 g) sliced mushrooms, we used portobello
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 stick of butter
- Juice of half a lemon (you want about 2 Tbsp/30 ml) without seeds
- 2 Tbsp/30 ml steak sauce, like A1 or similar
- A generous pinch of dried tarragon
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 4-5 stems fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 loaf baguette or French bread, cut in thirds and sliced lengthwise
- 1 C. (.25L) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) Tabasco or other hot sauce on the milder side of spicy
- Bake bread according to package directions after cutting as described above. Hollow out the boats by using a spoon to remove most of the bread ‘guts’.
- While bread bakes, sauté mushrooms, onion and garlic in butter, 3-5 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add lemon juice, hot sauce, steak sauce and tarragon and continue to cook until mushrooms are golden brown and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in chopped parsley and season with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of mozzarella on the bottom of each boat, then fill with mushroom mixture. Top with remainder of mozzarella and finish under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Have a favorite meatless Monday recipe? Consider sharing it!