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.
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Portobello Wellington

Portobello Wellington

Does it seem like I’m stuck in a wellington rut? Perhaps I am. I had thought about making eggplant wellington for Christmas Eve dinner with my family, but my dad doesn’t like eggplant (obviously he’s never tried eggplant everybody can love!) And it occurred to me that the steakiest of all vegetables has to be portobello mushrooms, and wouldn’t that suit a wellington! Yes, it did!

Apologies in advance if this seems garbled. I’ve got a boxing day haze all on my brain. But here is what I did…I cut the portobellos in thick slices, and cooked them in olive oil, white wine and balsamic till they were dark and crispy. I also roasted some white mushrooms with shallots, garlic and herbs to form the first layer on the pastry. And I cooked some big chard leaves until just tender to form the second layer. Then came some sharp cheese and then piles of portobellos.

I used paté brisée instead of puff pastry because I just didn’t have time to do it all! It worked out fine, I think. Crisp and flakey. And we had it with herbed walnut sauce, which I had added a bit of white wine to in the early stages.

Here’s Duke Ellington’s Toot Toot Tootie Toot from his Nutcracker Suite. Because Ellington rhymes with wellington, of course! Plus, it’s brilliant.
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