|Portobello mushrooms. (Broilkingbbq.com)
There may be snow on the ground, but the harvest never stops. The crop? Mushrooms!
From the good old stand-bys like white button mushrooms, their brown version, to the button-sized crimini and the crimini’s biggie version, the portobello, not to mention exotic and more recent additions to the fungi world, including the oyster, king oyster, shiitake and enoki - mushroom mania rules.
Mushrooms are always in plentiful supply, adding a touch of luxury and good nutrition to a meal. But there’s more to mushrooms than pizazz. Mushrooms are endowed with umami, the fifth taste, that does indeed enhance the flavour of their plate companions. Mushrooms make steak taste better, give any soup a richer flavour and help brighten noodles and salads.
Mushrooms are grown across the country, providing local seasonal food to Canadian tables. Enjoy them all year long.
Grilled Portobello Slices
Portobellos are firm with a deep woodsy flavour and meaty texture. Buy portobellos loose, or choose the convenient stemmed two-cap package.
- 2 stemmed portobello mushrooms, each about 4 oz. (125 g)
- 2 large cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) salt
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) minced fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley
Cut mushrooms into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) thick slices.
On board, mash garlic and salt to form paste; whisk into olive oil. Brush about a quarter of oil part of mix over top side of each mushroom slice. Heat grill pan or grill over medium-high heat; place slices, oiled side down on grill. Brush another quarter of the oil over slices. Grill until marks show on bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and grill until both sides are tender and nicely marked.
Arrange portobello slices in shallow bowl; drizzle remaining oil mixture over slices. Sprinkle with parsley.
Makes about 14 slices.
SOUTH ASIAN VARIATION: Instead of olive oil, garlic and salt, brush portobello slices with sesame oil. Grill as directed; arrange on plate. Drizzle very lightly with fish sauce and sprinkle with minced fresh cilantro.
TIP: Serve portobello slices as a side dish with steaks or lamb chops, a topping for hamburgers, or my favourite, as part of an antipasto tray with prosciutto, salami, roasted red pepper slices, olives, a wedge of cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano plus a crusty baguette. For a vegetarian burger, load slices onto grilled split buns, slather them with hummus, add shredded lettuce for crunch and sliced tomatoes for colour. Or, spread toasted baguette slices or flat bread with goat cheese and top each with a portobello slice curled or cut to fit.
Saturday lunch with a salad, Sunday brunch with eggs or tasty after-school or before-dinner appetizer or snack.
- 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) butter
- 2 cups (500 ml) diced mushrooms, scant 6 oz. (175 g)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) diced onion
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) shredded Gouda or Gruyere cheese
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) light mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) minced flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tsp. (10 ml) Dijon mustard
- Pinch each salt and cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
- 8 slices sandwich bread
In a skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat; saute mushrooms and onion until golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl to cool. Add cheese, mayonnaise, parsley, mustard, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine.
Trim crusts from bread; arrange in single layer on baking sheet. Toast on top side about 4 to 6 inches from broiler. Turn; spread mushroom mixture over bread. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Broil until bubbling and golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Cut slices in halves or thirds to serve.
Makes 4 servings.
VARIATION: Mushroom Melt Crostini: Toast one side of baguette slices, turn and top with mushroom mixture and broil.