Slow, mindless veggie prep is a great way to unwind from a busy day at the office but there are times when you need to get dinner on the table fast with minimal effort. Luckily, we've got a hack to help you quickly prep mushrooms for a scrumptious stuffing that's an absolute breeze. All you need is that unassuming melon baller hiding in the back of your cutlery drawer and a little scooping action.
You can, of course, remove mushroom stems with your hands by simply twisting them off at the base, before scooping out the central gills. However, this can be a messy job and the inside of your mushroom will have a craggy, uneven surface instead of a smooth, roomy reservoir, ready for all your stuffing. Chopping the mushroom stems off with a knife is another option but it's very easy to accidentally slice through the caps, especially if the variety you're using is small. The fiddly job of removing the gills with a knife also results in a messy middle instead of a seamless hollow for your filling, particularly if your mushrooms are unusually shaped.
A melon baller is a fantastic tool for scooping the gills out of mushroom caps because they're designed to gouge out soft fruit without causing damage to their delicate flesh. They also result in a neater finish that looks appetizing to the eye and creates more room for your tasty filling.
Use A Melon Baller To Hollow Out A Mushroom
The key to using a melon baller to prepare mushrooms, whether they be portobello, bella, or cremini, is to remove their stems first by hand. Then you can use the edge of the baller to scoop out the gills and create lots more room to pile in your stuffing. Because melon ballers have such a small footprint, they're perfect for scooping out the middle of tinier varieties of mushrooms, like button or chestnut mushrooms too. These mini fungi, which make for fantastic bite-sized hors d'oeuvres, are often so small that the centers can't be neatly removed using even the smallest teaspoon. A melon baller, however, can skillfully scrape the interior of mushroom caps and remove the gills to create a clean cavity. Furthermore, because melon ballers don't have a super sharp edge, you're less likely to puncture through the mushroom and create a gap where the filling could escape while baking. Their blunt edges also turn the entire process into a child-friendly activity that the whole family can get involved in.
Once your mushrooms are prepped, you can use the same melon baller to pile your stuffing directly into the hollow space you've created. Anything from spinach and cheese to cannellini beans and sun-dried tomatoes makes for a yummy stuffed mushroom filling.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.