Big, beefy recipes for big, beefy mushrooms.
When you grill them, big, earthy portobello mushrooms have such a meaty texture that they often end up on a bun like a burger. But Elizabeth Karmel, author of three cookbooks, including Pizza on the Grill, has another idea. She uses portobello caps as little pizza crusts, loading them with toppings and cheese. Borrowing Karmel’s concept, we present three options for simple portobello “pizzas” on the grill. I drain the tomatoes of excess liquid and brush the mushrooms with a flavorful garlic oil that I use for regular grilled pizzas, too. Portobellos and potatoes also make great partners, paired here on grilled kebabs. Look for portobellos with thick, sturdy caps, and use them shortly after purchase, as the edges can get brittle with storage.
Grilled Portobello “Pizzas” with Tomatoes and Fontina
2 medium tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored, seeded, and very finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup grated fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)
½ cup grated Parmesan (about 1 ounce)
6 large portobello mushrooms (caps about 6 inches across)
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Toss the tomatoes with ½ teaspoon salt in a strainer set over a bowl and rest them for at least 30 minutes. Discard the juice. In the bowl, toss the drained tomatoes (you should have about 1 cup), 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1½ teaspoons of minced garlic, and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the remaining oil, remaining garlic, and red pepper until garlic just begins to sizzle; adjust heat to medium-low and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Set pan aside off heat to infuse for at least 20 minutes, then strain the seasoned oil into a small bowl. In a medium bowl, toss the fontina and Parmesan to blend.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high. While grill heats, remove portobello stems, wipe caps clean, and remove gills (see Kitchen Aide). If using a gas grill, adjust burners to medium-high. Brush the gill sides of the portobello caps with about 1/3 of the seasoned oil, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and grill, gill sides down, until just tender, about 6 minutes, brushing the caps with about 1/3 of the seasoned oil and sprinkling with more salt and black pepper after about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the caps to a platter, gill sides up. Brush the gill sides with remaining seasoned oil, divide the tomato mixture among the caps, and sprinkle each with a portion of the cheeses. Return the caps, gill side up, to the grill, cover, and cook, without moving, until mushroom flesh is moist and tender and cheese is melted, about 9 minutes. Remove the caps to a platter, sprinkle with basil, and serve at once.
Grilled Portobello “Pizzas” with Prosciutto and goat cheese
Follow the main recipe above, making the following changes: 1) Before grilling the portobello caps, over medium-high heat, brush the hot grill grates with oil and grill 6 slices prosciutto (about 6 ounces) until just beginning to turn crisp, about 2½ minutes, turning once. Cool, then chop.
2) Sprinkle a portion of the prosciutto over the tomato mixture on each portobello cap.
3) Substitute 6 ounces of crumbled goat cheese (about 1½ cups) for the cheeses.
4) Add 2 thinly sliced scallions to the basil.
Spicy Grilled Portobello “Pizzas” with Olives
Follow the main recipe above, making the following changes:
1) Reduce the quantity of tomatoes to ¾ pound. To the tomato mixture, add 1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives and 2 tablespoons chopped hot cherry peppers.
2) Substitute 6 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes (about 1½ cups), for the cheeses.
Grilled Portobello and Potato Kebabs
Makes 8 10-inch skewers
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
8 medium portobello mushrooms (caps about 4 inches across)
1¼ pounds 2-inch creamer or red bliss potatoes (there should be 16), scrubbed and halved
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the 1/3 cup of oil, the garlic, and the thyme until garlic just begins to sizzle; adjust heat to medium-low and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Set pan aside off heat and infuse for at least 20 minutes, then strain the seasoned oil into a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste, and whisk vigorously to combine.
Meanwhile, remove stems from portobellos, wipe the caps clean, and remove gills (see Kitchen Aide). Cut each cap into quarters, toss in the oil-lemon mixture, and set aside for at least 20 minutes, tossing several more times.
Meanwhile, microwave the potatoes on high until just barely tender, about 5 minutes, gently tossing about halfway through cooking time. Cool briefly, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste, and toss to coat.
Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill on high. Hold two skewers in one hand and thread both at once (doubling them prevents the veggies from rotating) with alternating pieces of potato and portobello; repeat with the remaining potato and portobello on the remaining skewers. (There should be 4 pieces each of potato and portobello on each kebab.)
If using a gas grill, adjust burners to medium-high. Grill the skewers until the potatoes and portobellos are tender and grill-marked, about 10 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times. Remove kebabs to a platter, sprinkle with parsley, and serve at once.
Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at email@example.com.