We’re pretty religious about attending our little farmer’s market every Wednesday afternoon — for a family with a toddler who likes to cook and values delicious, locally-grown food, there’s really nothing better. The downside of our regular attendance is that I’ve gotten tired of most of the (very tasty) dinner options available. But I had yet to try Marilyn’s grilled portobello burgers so I bellied up (literally, I’m now two weeks away from my due date) to her station and placed my order. After a bit of a wait, I forked over my money and headed back to our blanket on the grass with my mushroom “burger” in hand.
I was pretty hungry (another by-product of pregnancy) so I tore into it. Mmmmmm… juicy, meaty, flavorful, and hearty. By the end I was a mess (they’re not so easy to eat neatly – probably a bad idea for a first date…) but I sure was happy. The next week I went back and ordered another one. And the following week, I started buying portobello mushrooms to make these for myself at home. I’ve since made them three times and see no reason to stop.
The preparation is extremely simple (basically a requirement for me to even consider a recipe right now as extended standing at sink or stove makes my back ache) and the results are always spot on.
The marinade is up to you but I have been liking using a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, fresh rosemary, oregano and some balsamic glaze or vinegar for sweetness and depth. If you’re in a rush, you could even (gasp!) use some prepared salad dressing and I’m sure the results would be good.
Let the ‘shrooms soak in all that goodness for a while (a few hours is great). Then fire up your grill and get going. They do take a little longer to grill than a meat-based burger would.
Top with cheese (and let it melt on the grill), sliced fresh tomato and lettuce or whatever seems appealing. Although I topped this batch with goat cheese (and arugula and tomatoes from our garden), I have to admit that I have been even happier with less sophisticated cheeses like cheddar, swiss or provolone – the goat cheese is nice but ends up competing with the mushroom a little too much for my taste.
Next: Get the recipe!
Toast your bun and try to get one that is a bit bigger than the mushroom as they are still very juicy after grilling and it’s helpful to have a little bit of extra buffer between your hands and all that goodness.
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
Serves 2 (double or triple as needed)
* 2 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned, with stems removed
For the marinade:
* 1 sprig fresh rosemary or other fresh herb (oregano, basil, etc.,)
* 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 Tbsps lemon juice
* Big splash of balsamic glaze (or vinegar)
* Sea salt and pepper to taste
* 2 round, crusty rolls or ciabatta buns, cut in half
* Sliced tomato
* Sliced cheddar, provolone, Swiss or American cheese
* Lettuce or arugula, washed and dried
* Ketchup or tomato jam
1. Make the marinade and place the mushrooms in it (you can either use a ziplock bag to ensure even coating or just put them in a bowl or shallow baking dish and remember to turn them a few times.) Let soak for at least half an hour and up to 4 hours.
2. Prepare a medium-hot grill. Place the mushrooms on the grill, gill-side down and cover. Cook until the mushrooms begin to soften, roughly 5 minutes, then flip them over and grill for another 7 or so minutes until soft and juicy when poked with a fork.
3. Top each mushroom with sliced cheese. Toss the buns onto the grill cut-side down. Close the grill and cook for roughly 1 minute. Open the grill up, turn it off, put your mushrooms on your buns, top with tomato, lettuce, or whatever you see fit and enjoy. Don’t forget napkins!