Mushrooms and barley were fixtures of the Eastern European Jewish kitchen, most notably paired in a nourishing bowl of mushroom barley soup. This appetizer also features the iconic duo, but showcases them a little differently. Here, mushroom caps are stuffed with tender barley that has been dressed up with Parmesan, fresh herbs, and a splash of white wine and served as two-bite hors d’oeuvres. The charming little caps would be at home as a first course on the Sukkot table, since the harvest holiday’s menu tends to feature stuffed foods. But I like to serve them as party fare, paired with a glass of white wine.
- ½ cup pearl barley
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 24 large cremini or white mushrooms, cleaned with a paper towel
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the baking sheet
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a garlic press
- ½ cup dry white wine, divided
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
- Fill a medium pot with 5 cups of water and set over high heat. When the water boils, stir in the barley and a large pinch of salt, then turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender but still chewy, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a large rimmed baking sheet. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and finely chop them; reserve the caps. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the shallot and garlic, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and most of their liquid evaporates, 6 to 8 minutes. Add ¼ cup of the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- Stir the Parmesan, parsley, thyme and cooked mushroom mixture into the cooled barley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Use a spoon and your hands to stuff the mushroom caps with the filling, packing each one tightly and mounding some on top. Arrange the filled mushroom caps in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Pour the remaining ¼ cup wine around the mushrooms and drizzle a little olive oil over the tops. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm. Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in an oven or toaster oven at 350 degrees until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Reprinted with permission from Little Book of Jewish Appetizers by Leah Koenig (Chronicle Books, 2017).