These stuffed mushrooms are a perfect party canape. Classic, bordering on kitschy, but not all-the-way kitsch. The inclusion of Ritz crackers was, in my opinion, a bold choice. Ritz crackers remind me of my grandmother’s friend, Arlene. Did you ever have to accompany your grandma to a friend’s house? Like, if you were staying with her for the day while your mom was at school or work or actually you don’t know where, and she mentions that she had to stop by and visit a friend who’d been sick. Arlene lived in a vaguely ramshackle Gothic house with too many clocks and a German Shepherd. Your grandma’s house was weird but you were used to it. To the musty smells and rules about shoes and coasters. Your grandma’s friend’s house is weird and spooky with a squishy pink toilet seat that squeaks when you sit on it and she feeds you cottage cheese that tastes gross. And when you don’t eat the slimy curds she gives you a plate of Ritz crackers and sets you up at the Formica table with an old issue of Highlights and a pack of crayons that are not Crayola and you wonder if you’re supposed to color in the magazine, but don’t. Ritz crackers taste like old ladies you see once or twice in your whole life but who insist on kissing you anyway. They’re not a snack I personally keep in the pantry, but I like the idea of them as a staple of another generation. Open up a tin of oysters and a brown sleeve of buttery Ritz and party like it’s 1948. These mushrooms are so classic and can be made with or without sausage. The excess stuffing I baked in a little dish. I served these tonight with an herb salad, mixed olives and gin and tonics. Such a light and lovely summer supper on the back patio.
- 18-20 white button mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 8 oz Linguica Portuguese sausage, diced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Parsley and lemon, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange mushrooms in a baking pan and brush with olive oil. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions, celery, and mushroom stems, about four minutes. Add garlic, season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Pour in the chicken stock and sherry; stir in crushed crackers. Stuff mushrooms with the filling (and Linguica, if using) and bake for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with parsley and give the mushrooms a squeeze of lemon before serving.