Portobello “steaks” topped with spinach and herbs

portobello steak

If you’re a vegetarian, you’ve heard it a million times. “Don’t you miss steak? If I made you a steak you’d gobble it up. How can you live without steak?” Let’s see…No. No. and Easily. And then they say, “Haven’t you ever heard a carrot cry?” And then you stick your fingers in your ears and say “La la la la la, I can’t hear you!” To be honest, I don’t miss steak, because I have portobello mushrooms, and I think they’re far tastier than any steak I’ve ever eaten. They’re something of a special occasion meal around here, because they’re not cheap, but they’re still far less expensive than steak, right? I like to cook them till they’re very very dark and crispy. Quite black on the edges. You can do this is a skillet, or you can do it in a roasting pan in the oven. I like portobellos with lots of olive oil, balsamic and rosemary. These ingredients mix with the mushroom’s own delicious juices to form a wonderful sauce…the mushrooms are tender inside, crispy outside and full of flavor. I sauteed some baby spinach and arugula with chopped mushrooms, garlic, rosemary and basil, and after the mushrooms were cooked to perfection, I put a scoop of this mixture on top, and then a slice (or two) of mozzarella over that. We had them with some thick cut roasted french fries. You won’t miss your meat!

Here’s Fats Waller’s Rump Steak Serenade.

4-6 portobello mushrooms. Take the top layer of skin off, and break off the stems – you can chop them up to use in the filling.

Olive oil
balsamic

about 10 oz (2 or 3 cups) baby spinach, regular spinach or arugula
1 clove garlic
2 cups mushrooms (Some can be the portobello stems) – finely chopped
1 t rosemary
1 t basil
salt and plenty of pepper

thinly sliced mozzarella for the top

Line a roasting pan with a little olive oil (1 T maybe?)

Make two shallow slices in the tops of the portobellos, and lie them top down on the olive oil. Pour about 1 t each of balsamic and olive oil in the mushroom cavities.

Put them in a preheated 425 degree oven. Cook until they’re quite dark – turn them every now and again. It should take about half an hour. The juices will run out, and eventually will caramelize with the balsamic in a way that might look as though it threatens the existence of your pan, but it washes off fairly easily.

While they’re becoming nicely charred on the edges and a beautiful deep brown on top, prepare the filling.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm some olive oil. (about 1 T) Add the garlic and herbs and cook for a minute or two. Add the finely chopped mushrooms, and sautée until they’re brown and crispy. Ten or fifteen minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside while you cook the spinach.

Throw the greens right into the pan that the mushrooms were in, and stir fry until they’re wilted. You can add a dash of white wine or water if they start to stick, but you want them to be quite dry in the end. Mix these in with the chopped sautéed mushrooms.

Put a heaping spoonful of filling in the cavity of each portobello, letting it spill over if it does. Top each with a slice or two of mozzarella, and put the dish back in the oven until the cheese is melted, bubbly and starting to brown. I put mine under the broiler at the end, because I was impatient!!

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