Seafood and Portabella Mushrooms

Willard Stinson on Deer Isle gave me this recipe for seafood on portabella mushroom caps and it’s pretty and delicious. I had the great good fortune to be at the Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society a couple weekends ago to give a talk (“Twenty-One Things You Need to Know About Maine Food”) and visited the beautiful new exhibit space in the barn at the Sellar’s House. Willard was on hand and we got to talking about food, surprise, surprise. As he described how to put this together, I could see it form up in my mind’s eye and felt hungry right away.

Then we got onto Lyle’s Golden Syrup, and bless him, he ran home and came back with some to share. That conversation had started with “what do you put on French toast when you don’t have maple syrup,” which was really about adaptive cooking: when you don’t have the ingredients that you really want, what do you do instead?

That morning, Toby and I decided to have French toast for breakfast, but staying in a summer place and not having brought maple syrup with us, we had cobbled together a delicious topping out of some jam and sugar and water.

But to get back to portabella mushrooms: here is a recipe that you could probably tinker with, too. As you will see, you use the mushroom as a platform for a scallop and some shrimps made a bit tastier by mozzarella and parmesan. I think you could make a lovely little hot hors’ouvre by using small portabellas, marketed by name as Baby Bellas, with one or two little Maine shrimp or a small bay scallop. It might be worth the experiment.

Since it is summer, and Maine shrimp are a winter fishery, to make this dish you will need to have frozen Maine shrimp stashed away somewhere or else use smaller-sized fresh shrimp. Or else just keep this recipe until January sometime.

Seafood Stuffed Portabella Caps

One large portabella mushroom cap per serving
Grated mozzarella cheese
One scallop for each serving
Several Maine shrimp
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (or use a microwave.) Remove the mushroom stem. Put a sprinkle of grated mozzarella on the upside down mushroom cap, and place a scallop in the center. Arrange the shrimp around the scallop in a pinwheel. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the shellfish. Bake on a barely oiled baking pan for twenty minutes or until the scallop is opaque and cheese melted. Otherwise, cook for two minutes in a microwave.

Makes as many servings as there are mushrooms.

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About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.