The week of Thanksgiving, for me at least, means two things: getting ready to travel during the most hectic time of year, and already experiencing turkey fatigue without an ounce of tryptophan in my system. The latter I partially blame on watching The Food Network during the past two weekends, as a quick scroll on the DVR showed that every single show had something to do with turkey, stuffing/dressing, potatoes, and gravy, ranging from deep-fried turkeys to potatoes au gratin to “mapletinis”. As my fellow blogger The Kitchen Witch would say, it’s a lot of attention paid to a lot of beige food, and speaking as someone who grew up eating many a Thanksgiving-lite meal during the year, the mythos surrounding this one meal has mostly dissipated.
Fortunately for me, Michael has been craving duck after watching a recent Iron Chef rerun that featured them as the theme ingredient, so we picked out a recipe for roasting a whole one for our big weekend project out of The Silver Spoon..but those details must wait for another post. Today I want to share with you the first part of what ended up being a weekend-long food celebration: Saturday night’s antipasti.
Stuffed mushrooms are a particular favorite of mine, of course, but until we tried this recipe (also from The Silver Spoon), we’ve tended to favor very simple preparations that just involve breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, and maybe some parsley for color and taste. These went well beyond that in combining sauteed shallots, anchovies and homemade breadcrumbs bound together with an egg and spooned into large caps, then sprinkled with more breadcrumbs and baked in the oven. The original recipe called for porcini mushrooms, but given that those are nigh impossible to find fresh in the U.S. (much less whole), we substituted cremini and button mushrooms in their place. Using a more neutrally-flavored base ended up working out perfectly as it allowed other ingredients to shine; the anchovies especially were able to lend a briny bite, albeit one cut by the breadcrumbs, eggs and shallots.
This is a great appetizer to serve whenever you’re in the mood for something light but different, and a great way to inject some non-traditional flavors into a typical Thanksgiving tableau without interfering with the star of the meal.
As for our star ingredient from Saturday? Stay tuned…