During my decade and a half as a vegetarian, meat eaters were always trying to foist portabello mushrooms on me, telling me, “they’re really meaty, you’ll love them.” As a result (and due to my willful nature) I eschewed eating them because I didn’t need a meat substitute, thank you very much. Well, my stubbornness simply led to years lost when I could have been enjoying these delectable beauties.
As the blinders have slowly dropped from my eyes I’m finding all of the myths that I had constructed around portabello mushrooms are so false, namely that they’re a) complicated to cook, b) expensive, and c) overhyped. I couldn’t have been more wrong! So let this be my very public apology to the lovely funghus and a debunking of my own myths.
C) Definitely meets expectations. The other evening dining out I had some Portabello fries, essentially deep fried slices with a light batter and they were divine.
B) Great bargain. Thinking I could try and recreate the fried mushrooms from my evening out I bought two mushrooms and was surprised that at $2.99 per lb at Whole Foods I ended up with two very large mushrooms for only $2.
A) Stunningly easy to make. An unexpected dinner guest forced me to drop the fried mushroom plan and change to stuffed mushrooms. I whipped together a onion spinach stuffing in no time and from start to plate it was only 45 minutes, 25 of which was in the oven, leaving me plenty of time to make a couple of side dishes to round out a full dinner for three which included Brussel sprouts, boiled potatoes, kale chips and a green salad.
Lesson learned: don’t let your stubbornness get in the way of great food!
Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms
2 portabello mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups spinach loosely packed, washed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup bread crumbs, unseasoned
3 oz goat cheese
Preheat oven to 375. Clean mushrooms. Remove stems and chop fine. In saute pan heat olive oil and add onion and cook 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add chopped mushroom stems and thyme and cook another 3 minutes. (When using dried herbs, always rub them between your fingers to help release the essential oil in them which heightens the flavor). Add spinach and stir into onion mushroom mixture until spinach completely wilts and then add balsamic vinegar to deglaze pan. Allow to cook another minute until all vinegar is evaporated. Remove from heat and place in a bowl with bread crumbs. Mix well and spoon onto mushroom caps, gills side up. Dot tops with goat cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until caps are tender and cheese is browned. Serve immediately.