AMONG the world's vegetables, there is one that can easily masquerade as meat. The portobello mushroom could well be a hamburger, with a juicy texture you can really bite into. Not that it tastes like a hamburger, but it seems, in certain preparations, to resemble meat more than veggie.
If your New Year's resolution is to eat less meat, the portobello is a good place to turn.
Teri Pang misses the portobello appetizer served at Kahala Moon by chef Kelvin Ro. The restaurant has closed and Ro has moved on to the position of dining room instructor and manager at Kapiolani Community College, but he dug the recipe out of his files.
Also included here is a recipe for a crispy-coated portobello burger, which optimizes the mushroom's meaty personality.
FIRE ROASTED PORTOBELLO WITHKelvin Ro
BALSAMIC ROASTED GARLIC JUS
6 ounces chicken stock
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2-1/2 ounces portobello mushroom
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon roasted garlic paste (see note; home cooks can use bottled garlic paste)
1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley, stems removed and minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, stems removed and minced
1 tablespoon butter
2 (1/2 inch) slices French bread
Prepare barbecue grill or heat oven broiler to about 400 degrees.
Combine chicken stock, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until reduced by about one-third. Remove from heat.
Clean portobello and remove stem. Coat with olive oil. Place mushroom on grill or directly on oven rack; grill or bake until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
While mushroom cooks, combine the sauce reduction, roasted garlic paste and minced herbs. Bring to a simmer and stir until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat, add butter and stir to incorporate.
Place bread on grill or in oven and toast until golden brown.
To assemble dish: Place 1 toast slice on the other at a 90-degree angle. Slice mushroom in half and place on toast.
Bring sauce to a simmer again and stir until smooth. Pour onto the plate. Garnish with 2 roasted garlic cloves and a sprig of parsley. Serve warm. Serves 1.
Note: To prepare roasted garlic paste, remove outer skins from 1/2 pound of garlic and slice bitter ends off of cloves. Place cloves in a shallow pan and cover with olive oil. Seal pan with foil and bake in 350-degree oven 20 minutes or until the garlic oil starts to sizzle. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Reserve 2 cloves for garnish, and strain remaining cloves to remove oil. Reserve oil for another purpose. Puree roasted garlic to form a smooth paste; if too thick, add some garlic oil.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving (made with bottled garlic paste): 500 calories, 31 grams total fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 1,520 milligrams sodium.*
PARMESAN PORTOBELLO BURGERSQuaker Oats Co.
WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER SPREAD
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon water
4 portobello mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed
4 whole-grain rolls
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 slices part-skim mozzarella cheese
4 slices tomato
Red leaf lettuce or spinach leaves
Heat oven to 400 degrees and spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
To make burgers, combine wheat germ, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and salt; mix well.
Beat together egg whites and water until frothy. Dip mushroom caps into egg whites, then into wheat germ mixture, coating completely. Repeat process. Place mushrooms stem side down on baking sheet. Spray mushrooms lightly with cooking spray.
Bake 14-18 minutes or until mushrooms are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife and coating is crisp. Top each cap with a slice of mozzarella and bake 1 minute or until cheese is melted.
Combine spread ingredients. Serve burgers on rolls, garnished with tomato, greens and red-pepper spread. Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 320 calories, 15 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 920 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 18 g protein.*
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