I was really tired and almost to the point of suggesting take-out, but I had to pick up some prescriptions, so off to the grocery store I went (I use my in-store grocery pharmacy). While I was waiting for my prescriptions, I started to peruse the produce section. I was pretty sure I was going the bagged salad route – a 5 minute, add some grilled chicken, call it a day meal. However, a large display of portobello mushrooms caught my eye (on sale of course) and I decided I would cook. Even the most tired of people could not have turned up these beauties. I turned around and spinach was buy-one-get-one and the meal began to take shape. I grabbed a tomato and headed to the cheese section. To my luck, my a log of my favorite brand of goat cheese was about to go out of code and was therefore 50% off. (This is a good shopping tip – when produce, meat or other perishable products get close to their sell-by date, many stores will discount the item. As long as you use the food that night, there is nothing wrong and you usually get a great deal.)
So I headed home with my prescirption, portobellos, spinach, a tomato and a small log of herb goat cheese. I knew the general dish I was going for, but wanted to see if there were any special ways to jazz up a simple mushroom. I found a great marinade on epicurious.com (this should be your culinary internet go-to, after the blog of course:) and allowed the whole portobellos to sit in a great blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy, marsala wine and some herbs and spices. The original recipe called for a 4 hour marinating time, but since I was originally thinking take-out, that simply wasn’t happening. I got the mushrooms soaking as soon as I got home, but by the time dinner rolled around they couldn’t have been marinating more than a hour and they turned our great. Portobellos are easy to marinate because you can use their cap shape to your advantage. When the marinade is poured over the mushrooms, a large amount collects in their cap and is allowed to soak. Portobellos on their own are always great, but the addition of a couple of key flavors really helps to make this a WOW dish.
To ensure that your mushroom is cooked perfectly, you need to pre-cook the portobellos before you stuff them. On a foil lined baking sheet, roast mushrooms right side up (you shouldn’t be able to see the gills) for 10-15 minutes or until tender. While my mushrooms were cooking, I got the other components of the dish ready – which really only consisted of cooking the spinach. I used an entire bag of baby spinach and simply sauteed it in a little olive oil. If you have ever cooked spinach before, you know it is always shocking how little you are left with after the wilting process. Once your spinach is sauteed and your mushrooms are done, you can begin to “stuff” (you are really layering here) your mushrooms. Sit each mushroom upside down on a baking sheet (the gills should be facing up) Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on the mushroom, followed by the spinach, and top everything off with a thick slice of tomato. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan to the top and you are ready to go. If both your spinach and mushrooms were hot, you can simply broil the mushroom to melt the Parmesan. If you prepared your ingredients ahead of time, it is a better idea to cook the mushrooms through in a 350 degree oven.
Two of these mushrooms make a great hearty vegetarian meal, or alternatively, a single cap would be a lovely appetizer for a dinner party. They would also work equally well on a grill, and especially nice as a veggie option for a traditional BBQ. With a quick prep time and a simple assembly, this is great dish to entertain with. The mushrooms can be assembled ahead of time and then rewarmed right before serving. Even though the stuffed mushrooms are a simple blend of the summer time harvest, presented together, they create a memorable dish.
Recipe: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms