Edible Parmesan Bowl Filled with Leeks and Mushrooms Appetizer Recipe

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Welcome to this month's Taste Creations Linkup where we will be sharing recipes using Leeks! The Taste Creations Linkup happens on the 1st Monday of Every Month at 7am PST / 10am EST. You can participate by submitting your recipes below any time until the 8th February at 7am PST / 10am EST.

I like things filled with gluten.  And meat.  I really, really, do.  But I also like to have delicious things that accomodate other people's dietary needs and are delicious to anyone (even meat-eating-gluten-fiends).

When I was presented with this month's Taste Creations Linkup ingredient (leeks--something I've never cooked or eaten before!), I did some research.  Turns out leeks are very often paired with potatoes and put in soup.  Too bad I hate soup (I like the idea of soup, but actual soup freaks me out) and I really hate potatoes (unless they're crunchy, like a potato chip).  But, oh happy day, they were also commonly paired with mushrooms.  And I LOVE mushrooms.  The idea for this gluten-free, fancy-looking-but-easy appetizer was born!

I love frico.  You know, the cheese that falls out of your grilled cheese sandwich and gets all crispy and extra delicious on the pan?  Yeah, there's a word for it:  frico.   But I'd never tried making frico cups before to make edible appetizer bowls.  

It turns out, the process is incredibly quick and easy.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Make little circles of cheese (I used Parmesan, because YUM) on parchment paper.  Bake at 400 degrees, and watch very very carefully.  Wait until the cheese has melted into a bubbly puddle and is just starting to turn golden at the edges.  I didn't time it exactly, I'm afraid, but mine took about five minutes.

Remove the cheese disks from the oven immediately, and use a spatula to remove each cheese disk from the pan and use a spoon to push it into the depressions in a mini muffin tin.  Wilton makes some great nonstick mini muffin tins.

Slice your leeks into thin disks, using just the part of the leek shown.  Trader Joe's conveniently sells leeks already trimmed to just the usable bits, but if your leeks look like giant green onions, trim yours to resemble the picture above.  That's the good stuff.

Chop mushrooms into small pieces as well (I used crimini mushrooms).  Appetizers are small, so you want small bits of vegetables to fit in the frico cups.  Sautee with a pat of butter over medium heat until the mushrooms are cooked through and the white part of the leeks start to look translucent.

That leek and mushroom mixture was fabulous on its own, by the way.  I could see it as a magnificent side dish with a really great steak.  I'm thinking Valentine's Day dinner!

Fill the frico cups with the leek and mushroom mixture, and prepare to have your guests think you're the fanciest chef on two legs.  These are seriously impressive, even though they're actually incredibly easy to make!  And your gluten-free, vegetarian friends will love you for them.

Your dairy free friends, sadly, are out of luck.  Maybe next time!

Next month we'll feature our favorite and most creative recipes from this month, so make sure you submit your post below!  Next month's ingredient is potatoes.  Ugh.  That one is going to be hard for me.  I guess it's called a challenge for a reason!

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido

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