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Cremini Mushrooms Stuffed with Spanish Ham

Cremini Mushrooms Stuffed with Spanish Ham

Spanish serrano ham, like its more famous Italian cousin prosciutto, is salted and hung in drying halls to air-cure. It is made primarily in western Spain and is one of the country's classic tapas offerings. Traditionally cut thicker than prosciutto, serrano has a similar but more earthy flavor, in part derived from the sizable role acorns play in the pigs' diet. Although not as widely available as prosciutto, serrano ham is turning up more frequently in delicatessens and specialty-food stores.

Steaming the mushrooms helps to rid them of excess moisture, creating a more concentrated mushroom flavor. Do not be surprised by how much they shrink, as they have a high moisture content.

Ingredients:

  • 42 fresh cremini or white button mushrooms,
      each 2 to 3 inches in diameter, brushed
      clean
  • 2 Tbs. fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh sage
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 3 oz. serrano ham or prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. crème fraîche or sour cream, or as
      needed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. dry white wine or vermouth
  • 2 Tbs. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese,
      plus more for garnish

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Lightly oil 1 heavy baking dish, or 2 large enough to accommodate the mushrooms snugly in a single layer.

Trim off the rough base of each mushroom stem, then remove the stems and chop finely. In a large bowl, combine the chopped stems, the bread crumbs, parsley, sage, garlic, ham, 3 Tbs. crème fraîche, the salt and pepper. Mix together thoroughly. The mixture should hold together in clumps. If it seems dry, mix in another 1 to 2 tsp. of crème fraîche.

Put the mushroom caps, stem sides up, in a steamer basket set over simmering water. Cover and steam until tender and glossy, about 3 minutes. Lift out the basket, allowing any moisture to drain, and let cool.

Spoon 1 generous tsp. of the ham mixture onto the stem side of each mushroom cap and smooth it into an even, rounded mound. Place the mushrooms, stuffing side up, in the prepared baking dish. Drizzle the wine around the edges of the dish and sprinkle each cap with about 1/8 tsp. of the cheese.

Bake, uncovered, until golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, garnish with cheese and serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 42 bites.

Make-Ahead Tip: The steamed mushrooms and stuffing can be stored separately in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before stuffing.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Hors d'Oeuvre, by Brigit L. Binns (Simon & Schuster, 2001).