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Grilled Portobello Salad

Salty and rustic Manchego, a traditional aged sheep’s milk cheese, is so popular that it is regarded as the national cheese of Spain. It is widely available, but if you are unable to find it, an aged pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese may be substituted.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 3 Tbs. plus 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, to taste, plus 1/4 tsp.
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 3 heads romaine lettuce, pale inner leaves only, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 3 pears, peeled, halved, cored and cut into thin wedges
  • 2 oz. Manchego cheese, shaved

Directions:

Grill the mushrooms
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Or, preheat a broiler.

Brush both sides of the mushrooms with the 3 Tbs. oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms, gill side down, on the grill rack and cook for about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate, rounded sides down, and sprinkle with the garlic and vinegar. Return the mushrooms, rounded side down, to the grill and cook until crisp on the outside and softened on the inside, about 10 minutes more.

Alternatively, arrange the mushrooms on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the broiler. Cook, using the same seasoning and timing as for grilling.

Make the vinaigrette
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, thyme, the 1/4 tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper. Gradually whisk in the 1/4 cup oil until smooth.

Assemble the salad
Cut the warm mushrooms into thin slices. Add the lettuce and pears to the vinaigrette, toss to coat evenly and arrange on salad plates. Top with the mushroom slices, sprinkle with the cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Salad, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).