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Portobello Burgers

Portobello mushrooms, big and bursting with flavor, fill a sandwich bun almost as well as any other burger, and with far less fat and fewer calories. Look for mushrooms with smooth, blemish-free caps. Turn the caps over and make sure the gills are a dry, dull-looking brown. If they are damp and black-brown, the mushrooms are past their prime and will not be good for this dish. The burgers are topped off with salad greens in a tangy herb dressing and a thick slice of ripe tomato. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, 5 to 6 oz. each, brushed clean and stemmed 
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 4 whole-grain burger buns, split 
  •   

For the herb vinaigrette: 

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar 
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic 
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme  
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary  
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley 
  •   
  • 5 oz. torn mixed salad greens (about 4 cups loosely packed) 
  • 4 thick slices beefsteak or other large tomato  

Directions:

Prepare a grill for direct-heat grilling over medium heat or preheat an oven to 400°F. Oil the grill rack. Lightly brush the mushroom caps with the olive oil.

By grill: Using tongs, place the mushrooms, cap side down, over the hottest part of the fire or directly over the heat elements and grill, turning once, until cooked through and tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a dish, cap side down. Using tongs, place the buns, cut side down, over the hottest part of the fire or heat elements and grill until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes.

By oven: Place the mushrooms, cap side down, on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the mushrooms and continue to roast until they are cooked through and tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a dish, cap side down. Turn on the broiler. Place the buns, cut side up, on a broiler pan and slip in the broiler about 3 inches from the heat source. Broil until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes.

To make the herb vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and water until blended. Stir in the thyme, rosemary and dill. Spoon 1/2 tsp. of the dressing over each of the mushrooms.

Place the bottom half of each bun on an individual plate. Place the salad greens in a large bowl, add the remaining vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly. Mound the salad greens on the bun halves on the plates, dividing them evenly. Top each with a tomato slice and then with a mushroom, cap side up. Put the tops of the buns in place and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Variation:

Portobello Burgers with Red Bell Peppers  Substitute 2 roasted bell pepper quarters for each tomato slice.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).