Marinaded, grilled to perfection, and topped with cheese, lettuce or arugula, and tomatoes, portobello mushrooms make a juicy alternative to traditional burgers.
The Garden of Eating
We're pretty religious about attending our little farmer's market every Wednesday afternoon -- for a family with a toddler who likes to cook and values delicious, locally-grown food, there's really nothing better. The downside of our regular attendance is that I've gotten tired of most of the (very tasty) dinner options available. But I had yet to try Marilyn's grilled portobello burgers so I bellied up (literally, I'm now two weeks away from my due date) to her station and placed my order. After a bit of a wait, I forked over my money and headed back to our blanket on the grass with my mushroom "burger" in hand.
I was pretty hungry (another by-product of pregnancy) so I tore into it. Mmmmmm... juicy, meaty, flavorful, and hearty. By the end I was a mess (they're not so easy to eat neatly - probably a bad idea for a first date...) but I sure was happy. The next week I went back and ordered another one. And the following week, I started buying portobello mushrooms to make these for myself at home. I've since made them three times and see no reason to stop.
The preparation is extremely simple (basically a requirement for me to even consider a recipe right now as extended standing at sink or stove makes my back ache) and the results are always spot on.
The marinade is up to you but I have been liking using a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, fresh rosemary, oregano and some balsamic glaze or vinegar for sweetness and depth. If you're in a rush, you could even (gasp!) use some prepared salad dressing and I'm sure the results would be good.
Let the 'shrooms soak in all that goodness for a while (a few hours is great). Then fire up your grill and get going. They do take a little longer to grill than a meat-based burger would.
Top with cheese (and let it melt on the grill), sliced fresh tomato and lettuce or whatever seems appealing. Although I topped this batch with goat cheese (and arugula and tomatoes from our garden), I have to admit that I have been even happier with less sophisticated cheeses like cheddar, swiss or provolone - the goat cheese is nice but ends up competing with the mushroom a little too much for my taste.
Toast your bun and try to get one that is a bit bigger than the mushroom as they are still very juicy after grilling and it's helpful to have a little bit of extra buffer between your hands and all that goodness.