With its smooth, yet tatty domed roof, the Portobello mushroom looks like some prehistoric rock or succulent plant, stoic, hearty and self-sufficient. It needs no one and nothing but a bit of shade and damp, and would be perfectly fine living in a state of exile as the stillest of still life, affecting the perfect permanent pose throughout eternity, thank you. I, however, have other plans for it, shroom lover that I am. While I am certainly fond of its younger and smaller fungal self, the Crimini, there’s something captivating, indomitable and a little intimidating about the giant cap with the gorgeous gilled underbelly of spores arranged in perfect symmetry, dark, deep and dangerous. It’s no wonder I can feel myself shrinking to the size of a phantasmagorical 7-year old, half expecting an harrumphing and hookah-high caterpillar to stare me down from his high perch on the mushroom’s back. All the same, I will have to take the upper hand and grill its gills to the gills.
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
Pan-Grilled Portobello Mushroom Caps
4 Portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean with damp cloth, the dry stem trimmed
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Juice of ½ lemon
1 clove minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
Prepare an easy vinaigrette with all ingredients (or use your own recipe) except the mushrooms in a small bowl, then set aside for 30 minutes to let the flavors develop. Turn mushroom caps on their backs and pour the vinaigrette into the spores, allowing it to seep in. Let them stand for 30 minutes to marinate.
In a large skillet over medium heat, place the mushroom caps spore side down (no need to grease the skillet; they will release enough moisture to prevent sticking). After approximately 3 minutes, turn mushroom caps over. Some of the marinade will have dripped out to flavor the other side as they cook. After another 3 minutes, turn them periodically to brown and shrink them to your desired preference. Don’t be afraid to scorch them a little; it will only improve the flavor. The longer you cook them, the firmer and meatier their texture will be. Serve as a side dish, add sliced to salad or let a whole cap be the star attraction as a vegetarian-inspired burger.
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as an entrée. --
This post is being submitted to Kalyn's Kitchen Weekend Herb Blogging #79, hosted this week by Sher of What Did You Eat?