Monday, August 31, 2009

Portobello Mushroom Burgers

I realized after speaking on the phone with our oldest the other day that I need to start posting some of our quick, easy and delicious favorites. Whether it's a busy week, a long day...whatever...it's great to have some of those "go-to" dinners that you can get on the table in 15 to 30 minutes, without sacrificing flavor or feeling like you've made a huge compromise. 

These Portobello Burgers are one of our favorites. Apart from the fact that you can have dinner in minutes, these burgers are SO good you might even decide to trade them in for your regular beef variety! Okay...some of the die-hard carnivores may have trouble with this culinary transaction but, honestly, the meaty goodness of these jumbo fungi rivals (in my humble opinion) any burger! The portobello mushroom is basically a big cremini (over 4" in diameter). They are the perfect "burger" shape and, when cooked, gain a more intense flavor and meaty texture which brings them even closer to the feel and flavor of a traditional burger.

When selecting your portobellos, make sure they have a nice earthy smell and are plump and firm.

 

If you don't use them immediately, make sure they are stored loosely in a bag or bin in the fridge without laying on top of one another. They'll only last a few days in the fridge (maybe 3 or 4), so it's best to buy them when you think you'll be using them. To clean them, gently wipe away any dirt from the smooth cap surface and underside with a paper towel. Washing them will only make them mushy. To prep them as "burgers," cut the stems even with the inside of the gills and season, as desired. You can really do whatever you prefer (just like beef burgers). I brushed both sides of the portobello lightly with olive oil, a drizzle of worcestershire sauce, and a sprinkle of salt, pepper and garlic powder. This combination really pops their flavor and enhances the meaty earthiness of these giant creminis. You can also use balsamic vinegar or a host of other marinades...whatever you'd like. When adding your "marinade," turn the mushrooms gill-side up so that the marinade can seep into the cap a bit before you begin the cooking/grilling process.

You can cook them on an outdoor grill or on the stove (I made ours on the stove and I think they're every bit as good as outdoor grilled). Just add a little olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat, place the caps "gill" side down and cook about 3-4 minutes, turn and cook another 3-4 minutes. You'll want to flip them back over to add your cheese (if you plan to melt this gooey goodness on yours), remove from heat and cover.

Again, the serving options are limited only by your imagination. I was looking for a pretty standard burger this time out, so I used mozzarella cheese, raw red onions, butter leaf lettuce and heirloom tomatoes as my garnish. And, I used a wheat bun slathered with a mayo-dijon mixture. Pretty much all the main characters were organic but you certainly don't have to go that way. Honestly, they turn out incredibly juicy, drippy, and oh-so-flavorful...even carnivores will relish their goodness!

Portobello Mushroom Burgers
serves 2 (just multiply ingredients for additional servings)

2 large portobello mushrooms
2-4 tablespoons olive olive
2-3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 slices of mozzarella cheese (I also really like to use swiss or provolone)
3-4 leaves butter leaf lettuce
1/2 large heirloom tomato, sliced
1/4 large red onion, sliced
2 whole wheat buns
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees for toasting buns. Clean mushrooms and cut stems. Lightly brush both sides of caps with olive oil. Turn mushrooms gill-side up and season with marinate (worcestershire, garlic powder, salt and pepper). Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Place caps gill-side down in hot skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes, turn and cook another 2-3 minutes adding additional marinade seasoning and then flip and add cheese. Turn skillet off, cover with a lid, and let caps rest while cheese continues to melt.

3. Place buns in oven until warmed through. Combine mayonnaise and dijon mustard. Place buns on serving plate, slather with mayo-dijon mixture, top with portobello, tomato, onion, lettuce and top bun.

You can eat these alone...or serve with oven fries, cole slaw, a simple salad, whatever sounds good.