I introduced our famed cheese in the post on Bryndza Cheese Sticks last year. With this year’s sheep farming season in full spate and some fine weather over the last month, our mountain meadows have turned into luscious pastures, so we are getting fresh supplies of bryndza cheese again.
The May bryndza, as we in Slovakia call it, is creamier and more flavourful than that made of sheep’s milk cheese stored in wooden barrels over the winter. It’s also less salty, as this is the ingredient used for preserving ground sheep’s milk cheese in the winter.
To do some aditional photography for the book I’m writing, I bought different bryndza labels a couple of weeks ago and tried a few more recipes. The one I want to share with you today also uses the bear garlic I got from my friend. Her parents have a large orchard in a remote hamlet in the mountains, so whatever she brings down from her weekend visits can be classified as bio-produce.
Bear garlic, also known under the names of ramsons, buckrams, wild garlic or wood garlic, is a wild plant that grows not only in forested areas of continental Europe and northern Asia, but also in British woodlands and eastern regions of Canada and the USA. I hear the herb can also be found in some London’s parks. If you want to have a go at Bryndza Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms outside the bear garlic season, feel free to replace bear garlic with other fresh herbs like chives, spinach or parsley greens.
To substitute Bryndza cheese in the recipe below, you can use any soft sheep’s milk cheese you can get locally, although I’m quite sure it won’t taste anywhere near as Slovak Bryndza 🙂
Bryndza Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
- 12 mushrooms
- 150 g bryndza cheese
- 2 handfuls bear garlic
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- a little oil for frying
- radishes or other seasonal vegetables to garnish
Take the cheese out of the fridge 30 minutes prior the cooking to let it soften.
- Rinse the bear garlic leaves and let them dry off on a chopping board. Rinse the mushrooms, remove the stems and make a little hole in each cap by scooping out some of the insides. Don’t discard either the stems or the insides, as they both add flavour to sauces or make a wonderful soup (they can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two days).
- Put the cheese in a bowl and mash it with a fork. Chop the bear garlic leaves and add to the cheese (leave some herbs to garnish if you prefer). Add the paprika and mix well to spread the bear garlic and paprika all around the cheese paste.
- Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the mushroom caps over a medium heat until slightly charred. If you want them tender, add a little water and let the caps sweat in a pan for 10 minutes. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
- In another small pan, quickly fry the sesame seeds over a medium heat to lightly char them.
- Put three mushroom caps on a plate, place a mound of the cheese paste inside each cap, top with the sesame seeds, and garnish with the radishes or other seasonal vegetables. Serve warm on its own or with fresh bread on the side.
Enjoy and let me know how it works for you!