This was a dish of two parts – the baked stuffed mushroom, and the pasta. They go very well together indeed but for a more abstemious meal serve the mushroom with a large green salad; or serve the pasta by itself.
Applewood smoked cheddar is made in Ilchester Somerset (very close to Ed’s parents and where we catch the excellent and affordable Berry’s Coach that runs between Hammersmith and the country), I’ve driven past the creamery many times (surely cheese is made thus rather than in a factory?) so do feel a geographic connection.
New to the Applewood range is a spreadable smoked cheese, which is really rather delicious, the food snob in me should be horrified, but it is really rather moreish and rather useful as it spreads and melts which makes making a sauce using it a breeze.
The fig, bacon and cheese stuffed mushrooms worked extraordinary well, the sweetness of the fig intensified by baking and contrasting with the smoky melted cheese and salty bacon. Delicious! I served atop of an Applewood carbonara with kale.
Recipe: Fig, Bacon & Smoked Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
100g bacon lardons, or rashers of bacon finely chopped
4 large flat capped Portobello Mushrooms
2 figs – each cut into 8
4 heaped teaspoons of smoked cheese spread – I used Applewood
Add a smear of oil to a frying pan and fry the bacon until it is crisp and starting to turn golden.
Place 4 pieces of fig in each mushroom, scatter the bacon over and top with a teaspoon of the smoked cheese spread.
Bake at 200C / GM6 for about 20 minutes until the mushrooms have started to wrinkle and are soft, (you will need to drain the liquid off the mushrooms half way through cooking).
Serve immediately with either a green salad and crusty bread – or on top of a smoked cheese and kale carbonara.
Options: Scatter a few walnuts onto the mushroom instead, or in addition to the bacon or lardons.
Many thanks to Applewood who send me a very generous hamper of ingredients together with the new cheese spread in order to take part in this challenge.