February 4 – Stuffed Mushroom Day
I don’t know about you, but I love fungus. Mushrooms–as everyone who’s taken sixth grade biology knows is in the fungus kingdom–come in all different varieties and flavors, from the super-rare and super-expensive black truffle to the ubiquitous white button, and everything in between. They’ve been used in cuisines throughout history and all over the world, from ancient Chilean cultures and imperial China to becoming staples in fine French, Italian, and American foods today. And, with the popularity of vegetarian and vegan diets in the modern world, such protein-packing mushrooms as the portobello are gaining steam as healthy and delicious meat substitutes.
Seeing as it is such a universal ingredient–and such a naturally occuring vessel for other things to get to one’s mouth–the origin of the stuffed mushroom as a dish is unknown, but can be found in various culinary cultures, most notably French and Italian cooking. And since it’s neither meat nor vegetable, mushrooms can be stuffed with nearly anything–from sausage to cornmeal to fennel and red pepper. It’s a versatile national food day for a versatile little fungus. 🙂
Check out Tony’s DiNapoli in the Theater District for some delicious Italian stuffed mushrooms. Tony’s makes a breaded stuffing with cheese that highly complements the mushrooms, as well as the other appetizers your party is sure to order (perfect fried calamari and stuffed criminis, how can you go wrong?) They’re coated in a butter sauce that works best when spooned on top of the mushrooms right before eating them. The appetizer plate is a bit expensive at $14.95, but the restaurant boasts “family style” sized dishes, so just one order may fill you up all the way to next year’s February 4th!
147 W 43rd St (between Avenue Of The Americas & Broadway)
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“I always get the stuffed mushrooms, seafood fradiavilo (sorry italians if I spelled that wrong), and the Pino Noir (which is awesome). The mushrooms always come out piping hot and buttery, the fradiavilo is HUGE (I suggest you come with friends) and the seafood was very fresh and not over cooked, and they have a pretty good wine list.”–Michelle B.
“Stuffed Mushrooms – one of my favs here. Just delicious, and even better when coated with a spoonful of buttery sauce they are prepared in.”–Phil H.