Did you know that Pennsylvania is the mushroom capital of the US? Yes, apart from being the sultans of snow we are also apparently the monarchs of mushrooms! Mushrooms are grown in former coal mines of Pennsylvania where the damp and dark environment provides idea condition for their growth.
Just as a sideline, there are countless ways to say mushrooms in Spanish. In Spain they are called champiñones (from the French champignons), in other Spanish speaking countries they are called setas. In Panama where I grew up they are called hongos! Out of all the names, hongos is the least appetizing, since it literally translates to “fungus.” Now, who wants fungus tapas? Anyhow, just thought I would share.
This tapas dish comes from the Andalusian region of Spain where sherry is produced. If you don’t have sherry, don’t worry. I use port and you really can’t tell the difference. I must warn you in advance, this dish is not a quick one. It takes a bit of patience, but believe me, it is certainly worth it. We love it so much at home that it has almost become a weekly Sunday tapas experience. The reason why it takes so long to cook is because you have to wait for the mushrooms and the onions to really cook down, absorb the liquid and for the sweetness of the onion to come out.
Surprisingly enough, these mushrooms are great cold also. I am not kidding! I must say my husband disagrees with me on this one. It is definitely a healthy, vegetarian tapa. You can certainly make a meal out of these by using a larger piece of bread and pairing it with a salad. I like to use French bread for a tapas style serving and multi grain bread for a heartier portion.
Mushrooms are rich in nutrients including zinc, B vitamins and folate among others. They are more nutritious eaten raw; nevertheless this is still a very healthy dish. I will definitely be posting other mushrooms tapas in the coming months.
This recipe was adapted from Penelope Casas’s book: Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain