From London Chef Yotam Ottolenghi: Stuffed Portobello with Melting Taleggio

We read a wonderful profile in The New Yorker magazine about one of London’s hottest chefs: Yotam Ottolenghi. While not a vegetarian, his vibrant vegetarian recipes – plus the dishes he serves at his two London restaurants and three gourmet delis – have changed the way Londoners eat. That’s reson enough to feature his stuffed portabello mushrooms with melting Taleggio cheese. (Click here to see the recipe.) Ottolenghi, a cheese lover, notes in his award-winning cookbook Plenty (Chronicle Books, 2011)  that he could “easily imagine someone writing a Ph.D thesis on different cheeses and how they melt.” He goes on to list his own observations – i.e., how young cheeses like fontina or mozzarella melt at a relatively low temperature and “stay creamy and smooth.”

One of his favorites: Taleggio, a soft cow’s milk cheese from northern Italy.  “It has the strong aroma of a mature cheese and melts evenly and smoothly,” Ottolenghi writes.

Hence this mushroom recipe, which appears in the best-selling Plenty. Like Ottolenghi’s other dishes, this one isn’t difficult to prepare. The portabellos are roasted in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven along with some extra virgin olive oil. Meanwhile, diced celery, onion, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and garlic are sautéed in more oil.  (You could use our Everyday Fresh oil.)

Once cooled, the vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes form the basis for a filling, along with grated Parmesan, fresh tarragon, and basil. The filling is piled on the mushrooms, which are then topped with a slice of Taleggio. The mushrooms go back in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the mushrooms are tender. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Ottolenghi – who also pens a vegetarian column for Britain’s Guardian newspaper – suggests giving the mushrooms a finishing drizzling of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh basil. Now that our 2012 Limited Reserve oil is ready, we’d use it to add another robust flavor dimension to this appealing dish.

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch