by John Ryan
In the same way that sports or the weather makes easy conversation at a bus stop, market conversation tends to go quickly to recipes. At this time of year, grilled portobellos are popular. When I am describing how to grill ports, someone inevitably chimes in with their own variation. This is one of the better ones.
Grill or broiler
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 big, fat garlic clove, minced or pushed through a garlic press
1/4 t. salt
Freshly ground pepper
The Dish: (in 3 parts)
4 portobellos, each about 4-inches across
Approx. 1/4 c. sliced onion
Roughly 12 oz. spinach
4 oz. goat cheese
Set up: Mix the marinade ingredients together in a small jar and shake the bejesus out of them. Then stem and wash the spinach.
1) Snap the stems off the mushrooms. Clean them up*, score the smooth side of each cap tic-tac-toe fashion, and brush both sides liberally with marinade. (You probably won't need all of the marinade.) Set them aside while the grill or broiler gets up to speed.
2) Grill or broil the mushrooms until they are cooked, maybe 3 or 4 minutes per side, then set them--gills up--on a big platter.
3) In the kitchen, sauté the onion in a little olive oil, then throw in the spinach and stir just until it's wilted, a minute or so.
4) Arrange the spinach/onion mixture over the mushroom gills. Put one or two slices of tomato over the spinach, then a fat slice of goat cheese on the tomato.
5) Use a spatula to put the mushrooms back on the grill and cover to create an oven (or put them under the broiler). Let them "bake" for a few minutes to soften the goat cheese, then serve.
*Cleaning portobellos: You know, this business of not washing mushrooms has gotten way out of control. Granted, mushrooms are very absorbent, but that doesn't mean they can't be washed. It just means that they should be washed quickly and left to drain on a kitchen towel. I find that the easiest way to clean portobellos is to use a pastry brush to brush out the gills (if there's dirt lodged in the gills). Then I hold the smooth side under running water and wipe off any dirt. I try not to get much water on the gills because they hold a tremendous amount of water and I'd rather they soak up my marinade instead.
Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.
This page created September 1998